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Support for Children of Divorce
Consequences for Families Martyn Carruthers

Online Life Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy

We offer help for people with emotional and relationship problems, including divorce, toxic family secrets and parental fixations. Everybody needs help sometimes.

Solutions for Divorcing Parents

During separation and divorce, you or your partner may ignore your children, or you may be tempted to use them to hurt or manipulate each other (Parental Alienation and Child Abuse); or you may treat your children as bargaining tokens as you divide assets. If you do, you may burden children with learning disabilities or with emotional problems such as chronic anger or chronic conflict.

Some couples say that they stay together only for the benefit of the children. In our experience, this is usually a lie - to hide emotional insecurity or financial concerns. If the couple announce this lie to their family, or if they convince their children that the children are the cause of their continuing unhappiness, one or more children may respond with chronic depression or psychosomatic symptoms.

Children need patience, wisdom and special care when their parents separate. Many people ask their parents or relatives to look after their children for a time, while they sort out their finances and emotions.

Compare this report from California with your hopes for your children's happiness ...

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
  • 85% of all youths in prison are from fatherless homes
  • 71% of all high school dropouts are from fatherless homes
  • 71% of teenage pregnancies are to children of single parents
  • 75% of children in single-parent families will experience poverty
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
  • 85% of all children with behavior disorders are from fatherless homes
  • 75% of all adolescents in chemical abuse centers are from fatherless homes

Divorce and Children

Some parents have favorite or special children. A father may favor his youngest daughter (Daddy's Princess), while a mother may prefer her eldest son (Little Prince). During a marital separation or divorce, the most favored child may react more than the other children - perhaps convinced that he or she somehow initiated or caused the separation.

Emotional Incest . Parent Alienation . Parent Coaching . Coaching Children

Partners can clarify their values - what is important? - and their emotions about partnership - especially the less pleasant emotions such as anger, sadness, fear and guilt. We can help each partner do this while mature and resourceful. If they do not, the children will often take the parent's hidden or repressed emotions upon themselves.

(If a couple owns a business, employees may be enmeshed into a conflict of allegiance, and staff may feel and act like confused children. Our corporate coaching can manage many staff infections.)

Our coaching can prevent or alleviate many toxic situations - in these examples, employers and employees can often replace parents and children.

  • If a parent acts guilty, children may try to express the parent's guilt
  • If a parent acts like a failure, children may respond with chronic fear
  • If a parent acts resourceless, children may try to grow up too quickly
  • If a parent acts like a victim, children may respond with chronic anger
  • If a parent is dead or absent, children may respond with chronic sadness
  • If a parent forces children to take sides, children may respond with chronic conflict

Make every effort to help children communicate to both parents - regardless of circumstances. Otherwise children can develop emotional scars that they may carry for years. Hurt children will likely fight against their parents' separation, attempt to sabotage their parents' new partnerships, and may strive to leave their parents' homes.

Prevent Learning Disabilities . Adjustment Disorders . Parental Alienation

After you recover your strength to support your children - who supports you to build new relationships? We can help you build relationships based on strength rather than on weakness or dependence.

Do you want single parent coaching or child coaching?

Separation & Divorce Coaching

We usually require that both parents have individual coaching to manage individual emotional problems, and then sessions together, to manage partnership issues. We do not "take sides" - we coach both partners understand, appreciate and accept each other's perspectives, motivations and goals and to make informed decisions:

1. Respect the other parent

Following separation, parents may stop acting as a couple. Their only mutual project may be to co-parent their children. Talk to your children about your former partner - talk with respect - and praise whatever can be praised, even if  - or especially if - the other parent is missing, alcoholic, dead, in prison, or hates you. Each child is 50% of their other parent - and knows it. If you reject your child's other parent - you reject half of your child!

2. Love your children

Your children may feel unloved and forgotten during separation and divorce. Express love to them, regardless of whether they are well behaved, polite, industrious, have tidy bedrooms or eat their broccoli. (Most children spell LOVE as T-I-M-E)! Ask your children HOW they want to spend their time and what increases their feelings of wellbeing and happiness.

3. Your children need both of you

Many children of divorce are forced to take sides between Mom and Dad. Sometimes one parent may want a child to hate the other (Parent Alienation Syndrome or PAS). Instead, repeatedly reassure your children that they do not have to choose one parent as being in any way better than the other.

4. Do not blame children

Immature parents often blame their children for their separation and divorce. If your children come to believe that they caused your marriage to break up, they may feel enormous guilt. They may try to keep you and your partner together - perhaps by acting-out, learning disabilities or disease. Explain to your children, repeatedly, in simple words, that your separation is your decision and not their fault - and that they cannot bring Mom and Dad back together. See Adopted Children

5. Fight fair - Fight away from your children

Divorce is an intense time. Avoid fighting anywhere near your children - or any children. Organize a time and place, away from the children, that is convenient for both parents to discuss and resolve conflicts. If a fight erupts, remember to STOP, TAKE TIME and RESCHEDULE your meeting.

6. Minimize change

Although divorce will create many changes for your children, continuity is important. Make your children's environment as familiar as possible, including their favorite things, photographs, toys, blankets, etc. Create a home in each place that the children stay.

7. Encourage meetings

Discuss how your children can have maximum benefit and happiness when they are with the other parent. Avoid asking children to deliver messages, to spy or to obtain information from your ex-partner.

8. Get mature support

Divorce is a difficult time for everybody. Parents need mature ADULT emotional support from family, friends, relationship coaches, clergy, etc. Avoid asking your children to support or guide you - or the other parent. Guide and support your children.

9. Talk about feelings

During stressful times your children may change their behavior. Your children may misbehave, they may act much younger or they may try to grow up quickly and act overly mature. Ask your children how they feel, and what they think or imagine is going on. Help your children express THEIR unpleasant feelings. Please don't complain to them about yours!

10. Remain mature

Avoid asking your children - even teenagers - for advice about your partnership, about money, custody or court issues. Reassure younger children that your decisions are for their best interest. Ask older children for their thoughts and feelings about decisions - and tell them that although final decisions will be made by their parents, their opinions are very important.

We help partners separate peacefully ...
and we help new partners co-parent and merge blended families.

Online Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 2002-2018
All rights reserved

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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email