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family health information center
More than a million children are affected by divorce each year. When parents divorce, it can be hard for children to get used to a new way of life. But parents can do many things to protect their children from the emotional harm divorce often brings.
Tell your children about the divorce before the parent leaves. Be open and honest, but think about what they're old enough to understand. Children need to know what is going to happen, especially those changes that affect them directly. Tell your children where they will live and with whom, when they will see each parent, plans for school, outside activities and continued friendships. Let them know how and where each parent will live.
Children should not hear the other parent being blamed for the divorce. Don't give the message that one parent is "good" or "bad". They don't need to know details of what went wrong (such as affairs or money problems). Expressing these feelings places your children in the middle.
Once the divorce process starts, children may need more time and attention from both parents.
There is no "right" way for children to feel when their parents are going through a divorce. Here are some ways children may react:
Social service agencies, mental health centers, family counselors and groups for divorced people and single parents are helpful. Books, articles and videotapes for both parents and children are available in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Family Library.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital Divorce Services. Pre- and post-divorce counseling provided for both parents and their children. For referral, call (614) 222-1999 or for information, call (614) 794-2145.
This site has articles for parents, a free online newsletter and information on how to encourage discussion.
This site has information and resources for parents to help children cope with divorce.
This site has information and resources about the feelings children might have about divorce.
A site made for teenagers dealing with their parents’ divorce.
Parent Connection Line at (614) 224-CARE (224-2273) offers 24-hour support and information for parents.
Parents Without Partners (PWP) is a support community for single parents and their children. This site also offers parenting tips. There are chapters inside and outside of Columbus.
You can put in your zip code and find a list of local support groups and resources.
This site gives a list of divorce support groups.
Divorce and Children (PDF)
HH-IV-72 1/98, revised 7/11 Copyright 1998-2011, Nationwide Children’s Hospital