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  • Writer's pictureYvette E. McDonald, LCSW-QS

Guide to Helping Kids Navigate their Parents Divorce

3 Resources for kids to help you through the beginning season of Divorce with your kids


Divorce is hard on children. It just is. Now, don't get me wrong I'm not shaming you for finding this as part of your story. I am well aware professionally and personally that sometimes divorce is the only option or it's an option that is forced on you. No matter the reason that you find yourself here. My hope is to assist you with some resources that I have either used personally with my own two children over a decade ago or professionally with the children I help in my office.


Getting through the first 18 months of divorce is curial as there are many changes, transitions, adjustments, feelings and uncertainty. It's important to navigate this unexpected part of your journey with wisdom and intentionality in order to give your kids a strong foundation, space to grieve, and time to readjust to their new normal.


In kicking off this resource blog I wanted to share with you one of my favorite resources as it pertains to talking with your kids about divorce.


Sesame Street has an entire resource collection walking kids through divorce. The best part is they take a really difficult concept and make it easier for children to understand through kid friendly videos. They also have additional resources to help with separation and divorce ranging from articles, videos for adults, coloring sheets and books. They even have it in Spanish.

Learn more at: Sesame Street Divorce.


Divorce Resources for Kids

Grief from a divorce is a personal experience in which each child travels through differently. I will not attempt to either compare my children's grief with yours, have a grief competition or tell you everything is going to be okay in a couple of months. For some children they can transition within 18 months of the divorce with a good support system, healthy coping mechanisms and great resources. For others it can take longer. Some kids will even present like everything is great and have no problems adjusting and then out of no where, months or even years later have a delayed grief reaction that blindsides you. Counseling is my recommendation along with the following resources I used with my boys personally over a decade ago and in the counseling room with the clients I serve currently. I hope you find them to be useful as you navigate your new normal and put the pieces of your child/children's heart back together.


#1: Book Recommendations

#2: Online Resources

#3: Parent Support Resources

 

Book Recommendations


Online Resources

This was my boys favorite resource as they navigated the beginning of the divorce. The beginning of their journey was difficult to say the least as they struggled with all the changes in addition to having some really big emotions that just crushed my heart. I had a hard time finding a local group so I ended up buying the materials and doing it together as a family. It was beneficial to walk with them through the curriculum as a parent because it also gave me the verbiage to communicate with them about the divorce in a language they understood and gave me a deeper understanding of what they were going through both in their head and heart.

For those who filter life through faith here are a collection of recourses from Focus on the Family to guide your understanding and choices. I've always enjoyed the free resources from Focus on the Family as they help to support and walk me through a very difficult season of life.

Coparenting can be hard for some and easy for others. If it's easy congrats! But, for those that have a bumpy start there are resources available to assist you in the new normal of co-parenting your child/children.



Support Groups

Single parenting is hard and demanding work. You no longer have the support of a partner within the house big or small and you can begin to feel like you are on an island with no help in sight. This resource is one in which I found through my professional channels. It addresses the tough parts of single parenting and provides groups that help you discover how to deal with your deep down worries and your day-to-day struggles. You’ll meet with other single parents to learn and discuss some amazing parenting strategies and hope-filled insights.



Additional resources for the effects of divorce at different ages:


 

Remember grief is personal and is a journey. Your child is going to feel an array of feelings including anxiety, anger, sadness and abounded just to name a few. There is not a quick fix to grief and your child/children will not magically learn how to accept everything overnight. They will have lots of questions and concerns. They will be confused and curious regarding what's going to happen next and why mom or dad doesn't live in the home anymore. It will take time for them to move through grief and reorganize their head and heart around divorce. Below is a video regarding the effects of divorce on children along with some hope.




 

Yvette E. McDonald is the owner and counselor at Traveling Light Counseling, a practice for individuals, couples and families helping them discover the person/couple they were always meant to be, as they become the best version of self in their roles and relationships in the Port Saint Lucie and Martin County area. She specializes in all things relationship. Relationship with self, others and children.

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