There is a lot we can do to help our children survive divorce. One of the single most determining factors as to whether or not a child will successfully survive divorce is how much their parents fight with each other after the breakup. If a parent wants to do one thing that will ensure their kids do well after their divorce, they should stop fighting.
Another contributing factor to the successful survival of divorce by children is the amount of steady contact they have with the non-resident parent. In addition, children are helped if they know and are assured by their parents that they thought through the decision to divorce thoroughly and at length. Parents need to be able to tell their children that the forthcoming divorce is not something that came about impulsively.
Parents need to go to their children and tell them how badly they feel about the decision to divorce. They need to offer whatever explanation they believe they have for the decision without placing blame on someone else. And they owe their children an apology for the breakup of the family. Even if you, the parent, knows the divorce is for the better, to the child it feels as if their entire world has broken in half. When you apologize to your child and empathize with their pain, you help them understand that the divorce is not their fault. Your honest apology releases them from intolerable guilt and a false sense of responsibility. They also find a positive role model in the thoughtful, considerate parent who is willing to take responsibility honestly, without compaining.
Read our Checklist for Divorcing Parents for more ideas on how to help your kids get through the divorce.