How to Meet Your Child's Need For Security During Divorce

woman comforting teenage daughter
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Divorce seems to hit children the hardest. Everything in their world seems to be changing and their need for security may feel threatened during their parent's divorce

One parent is leaving the home. In some cases, the custodial parent is also relocating and the child is leaving the only home he or she has known. Divorce can be a time of upheaval for children and, it is our responsibility as parents to make sure their needs are met. 

Tips for Making Your Child Feel Secure During Divorce

Children can blame themselves for the divorce, especially if they overhear the parents arguing over something the child has done around the time of the divorce. However, there are ways to lessen the impact and make your child feel more secure during the changes.

Keep the child’s schedule the same if possible.

There is a sense of order when the child gets up at the same time, plays with friends in the afternoon, and goes to bed at the same time. Whatever your child’s day usually entails, try to do the same things at the same times. There is no reason divorce should disrupt your child's daily lifestyle. 

Make sure the child has access to all of their familiar things, at both houses.

He or she can decide what they want to leave at each home so that the child has well-loved items around. This will make the transition more comfortable. Allow your children to choose what they wish to take with them when visiting the non-custodial parent.

Items such as books and stuffed animals can be replaced if they are left behind or disappear. The important consideration is that your child is surrounded by items that help them feel comfortable wherever they are. 

If at all possible, have a room for the child at the non-custodial parent’s house as well.

Having a place set aside just for them makes children feel welcome when they travel between homes for visitation. If you are the non-custodial parent it is important that you show your child they have a special place in your home.

Both homes should have a room for the child to call their own and that room should be filled with things that help the child feel at home whether at Mom's house or Dad's house. 

Keep your problems to yourself.

Many children get pulled into the turmoil between the parents and are told about adult issues that should not be their concern. Find a friend or counselor to discuss your conflicts with, but don’t force your child to have to deal with your problems. Do whatever needs to be done to keep your conflict with your spouse out of your child’s life.

Give the child love, attention, and discipline.

Parents may feel guilty because the child is upset during a divorce, and many times may lavish gifts or give special privileges the child would not normally receive. There is a sense of security in having consistent rules, including consequences of negative behavior. Tell your child both parents love him or her and always will. Assure them the divorce was caused by grown-up issues and not by anything they may have said or done.

Make sure the child has access to both parents.

The child should know how to reach the non-custodial parent when they need reassurance or feel lonely. Take the time to talk with your child and spend quality time regularly.