10 Ways To Help Your Children Cope With Divorce And Joint Custody


Divorce is never easy, especially when there are children are involved. The transition to joint custody can be emotionally taxing for both parents and children alike. However, it’s crucial to prioritize the well-being of your children during this challenging time. So, what helpful coping mechanisms can you implement to help your children through this tough time and foster healthy family relationships?

Practical ways to support your children through divorce and joint custody include ensuring smooth handovers and promoting positive relationships with both parents. Prioritize your child’s emotional well-being and create a safe space where your child can voice their feelings during this transitional period.

Negotiating the intricacies of divorce and child custody can be daunting, but with the right strategies and support, you can help your children thrive despite the challenges. By implementing these ten tips, you can provide your children with the love, stability, and reassurance they need during this time of transition.


1. Ensure A Happy Hand Over From One Parent To Another

Maintaining a calm and supportive atmosphere when transitioning your child from one parent to another is vital. Keep exchanges brief and focused on your child’s needs rather than lingering on personal issues with your co-parent.

Remember, your child may feel anxious or unsettled during handovers, so reassuring them and making the process as seamless as possible is crucial. By prioritizing your child’s comfort and emotional stability during transitions, you can help them adjust more quickly to the changes brought about by divorce and joint custody.


2. Refrain From Negatively Commenting About The Other Parent

It’s natural to experience negative emotions towards your ex-spouse during and after a divorce. However, expressing these feelings in front of your child can have detrimental effects on their mental and emotional health. Children often internalize parental conflicts and may feel torn between loyalty to both parents.

To mitigate this, refrain from disparaging remarks or engaging in hostile behaviour towards your co-parent. Instead, focus on fostering a positive co-parenting relationship based on mutual respect and cooperation. By demonstrating maturity and restraint, you can protect your child from unnecessary emotional distress and promote a healthier family dynamic post-divorce.


3. Keep A Healthy Routine When They Are With You

During visits with you, prioritize maintaining a structured routine that mirrors your daily life as much as possible. Consistency in meal times, bedtime rituals, and recreational activities helps your child feel secure and grounded, even amidst the changes brought about by divorce and joint custody.

Ensure that your child has access to familiar comforts, such as their favourite toys, books, or activities, to help them feel more at ease in your home. By providing a stable and supporting environment, you can mitigate transition stress and promote your child’s overall well-being during their time with you.


4. Ensure That You Stay Involved In Your Child’s Life

Despite the challenges of divorce and child custody circumstances, make a concerted effort to remain actively involved in your child’s life. Attend school functions, sports games, and other important events to show your child you are committed to being present and engaged in their upbringing. Make time for one-on-one activities with your child, such as outings to the park, movie nights, or crafting projects.

These shared experiences help strengthen your bond and create lasting memories that reassure your child of your love and involvement. By prioritizing quality time together and demonstrating your ongoing support, you can mitigate the impact of divorce on your child’s sense of security and belonging.


5. Create A Protected Space For Your Children To Share Their Feelings Or Express Emotions

Divorce can stir up a multitude of emotions for children, including sadness, anger, and anxiety. Create a safe space where your child feels relaxed discussing their feelings without fear of judgment or criticism. Listen attentively to their worries, validate their emotions, and offer reassurance that their feelings are normal and understandable.

Avoid dismissing or minimizing their experiences, even if you disagree with their perspective. Instead, acknowledge their emotions and provide support and empathy as they navigate this challenging time. By fostering open communication and emotional expression, you empower your child to cope with their feelings healthily and strengthen your parent-child relationship.


6. Support The Time Your Child Spends With The Other Parent

Recognize the importance of your child’s relationship with the other parent and support their time together wholeheartedly. Encourage open communication between your child and their co-parent through phone calls, video chats, or in-person visits.

Respect the agreed-upon visitation schedule and avoid making last-minute changes or cancellations that disrupt your child’s time with the other parent. Fostering a positive and supportive co-parenting dynamic creates a sense of stability and continuity for your child, even during a divorce.


7. Let Your Children Know That Everything Is Going To Be Okay

Amidst the uncertainty of divorce and child custody arrangements, it’s essential to reassure your child that they are safe, loved, and supported. Acknowledge their concerns and fears and convey optimism and hope for the future. Encourage your child to focus as much as possible on the positive aspects of their life, such as cherished relationships, meaningful activities, and personal achievements.

By instilling a sense of resilience and optimism, you empower your child to navigate the challenges of divorce with confidence and courage. Remember to offer ongoing support and encouragement as they adapt to their new normal, reassuring them that you are there for them every step of the way.


8. Always Communicate Honestly With Your Children

Honesty is key when communicating divorce and child custody matters with your child. Provide clear and age-appropriate explanations about the changes in your family dynamics, avoiding complex details or adult-centric language. Encourage your child to ask questions and let you know their concerns openly, reassuring them that their feelings are valid and respected.

While it’s essential to be honest, exercise discretion in sharing information that may cause unnecessary distress or confusion. By fostering open and honest communication, you lay the foundation for trust and understanding in your parent-child relationship, strengthening your bond in the face of adversity.


9. Encourage A Happy, Healthy Relationship With The Other Parent

While divorce may mark the end of your spousal relationship, it doesn’t diminish the importance of your co-parenting partnership. Encourage your child to maintain a positive and healthy relationship with their other parent, emphasizing the value of mutual respect, communication, and cooperation.

Facilitate shared activities, outings, and quality time to nurture their bond and create cherished memories. By prioritizing your child’s well-being and fostering a supportive co-parenting dynamic, you create a foundation for long-term familial harmony and mutual respect.


10. Consider Seeking Professional Help From A Family Counselor

If you notice signs of distress or behavioural changes in your child, such as withdrawal, mood swings, or difficulty adjusting to the divorce, consider seeking professional help from a family counsellor. A qualified therapist can provide individualized support and therapeutic interventions to help your child process their emotions, develop coping strategies, and navigate the challenges of divorce and joint custody.

Navigating divorce and joint custody can be challenging, but by prioritizing your child’s emotional well-being and implementing these ten strategies, you can help them thrive amidst the changes. Remember to provide love, stability, and reassurance, and seek professional support when needed. With patience, empathy, and support, your family can emerge stronger and more resilient from divorce and joint custody challenges.

If you have any questions or want to speak to an experienced family lawyer, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our Burnett Attorneys & Notaries team has extensive experience with divorce and child custody-related matters, and we would gladly help you in this endeavour.