Collaborative Practice Marin
Helping Kids Cope with Divorce

Research has found that, when parents separate, the more cooperative and respectful the parents can be with one another, the better it will be for the children. The collaborative divorce model helps support a healthy outcome for the whole family – parents and children alike.

Here are six tips to help your children cope with divorce:

  1. Never speak negatively about your ex in the presence of your child. Focus on the positive (even if that seems difficult at times), or at least do your best to remain neutral. It’s unfair to put your child in a position where they are forced to choose sides.
  2. Always remember that your child needs both parents to grow into a healthy adult. Maintain a respectful, cooperative, working relationship with your ex. Put the child’s well being ahead of any conflicts between the adults.
  3. If your child complains about the other parent, attend to their upset and frustration. Let them vent without making the other parent wrong.
  4. Allow your child to grieve and express all of their feelings, including their anger and upset towards you.
  5. Communicate directly with your ex. Don’t put your child in the middle and force them to serve as the go between.
  6. Reassure your child that the divorce is absolutely not their fault. Grownups fall in and out of love with each other, but they never fall out of love with their kids.

Bea Ivory-Chambers is a divorce coach at Collaborative Practice Marin.

Photo Credit:  Ann Buscho, Ph.D.

Out of the Mouths of Babes: This Child Tells her Parents What she Needs During their Divorce
All parents care deeply about their children's welfare, but during the stressful time of divorce there are many intense emotional ups and downs, many demanding decisions and changes to attend to, and times when it can be challenging to muster energy for the high quality parenting we know our children need.  Especially if our child is resilient and seems to be doing well enough, even the best parents sometimes get overwhelmed with their own problems and can forget that divorce up-ends the lives of our children, too. 

Take a look at this video clip of a six-year old girl explaining to her mother what she needs from her parents during their divorce.  It has gone viral on YouTube, because this child articulates so clearly how she feels and what will help her weather this big change in her life.  She doesn't only care about herself:  she expresses remarkable caring for her parents, too, and sees that handling the divorce transition well matters to the entire community and even the world.

Watch it.  Give it to your spouse.  Give it to your lawyer, too.

And remember:  interdisciplinary collaborative team divorce is the only divorce process that builds in a voice for and to the children--the Collaborative Child  Specialist--so that their perspective on the divorce can be expressed in a safe way and their needs can be understood clearly and accurately by both parents.  

Pauline H. Tesler, J.D., CFLS, is a collaborative divorce lawyer practicing in Marin and San Francisco.

photo credit: Ann Buscho, Ph.D.

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About Collaborative Practice Marin

CPM is a community of legal, mental health and financial professionals working together to create client-centered processes for resolving conflict.  We are located in Marin County, California. 

Why Collaborative Divorce?

“Divorce is never easy but the collaborative process made mine bearable.  I had more control and therefore less stress and anxiety because I had an active role.”


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