How to support your child when parents divorce

How to help children going through their parents’ divorce


There were 101,669 divorces of opposite-sex couples in England and Wales in 2017, a decrease of 4.9% compared with 2016, but similar to the number seen in 2015 (101,055).

There were 338 divorces of same-sex couples in 2017, more than three times the number in 2016 (112 divorces) (Office for National Statistics)


Over 100.000 families per year have to re-organise their lives and find new ways of being.

This process is very complex and also very specific to each family’s circumstances. However, we know now what “a good divorce” (the best option) looks like from the child’s perspective because there has been a great body of research done on the subject.


What do children need from us? Mainly these ten things:




Every child whose parents divorce has:

1. The right to love and be loved by both of your parents without feeling guilt or disapproval.

2. The right to be protected from your parents’ anger with each other.

3. The right to be kept out of the middle of your parents’ conflict, including the right not to pick sides, carry messages, or hear complaints about the other parent.

4. The right not to have to choose one of your parents over the other.

5. The right not to have to be responsible for the burden of either of your parents’ emotional problems.

6. The right to know well in advance about important changes that will affect your life; for example, when one of your parents is going to move or get remarried.

7. The right to reasonable financial support during your childhood and through your college years.

8. The right to have feelings, to express your feelings, and to have both parents listen to how you feel.

9. The right to have a life that is a close as possible to what it would have been if your parents stayed together.

10. The right to be a kid.

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If you need support in going through a divorce and would like to use professional help please go on to

Call 0207380 1960 and have and speak directly with The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships advisor.


You may also be interested in reading “When parents separate: getting it right for the children. A guid for parents” by Krisztina Glausius and Leezah Hertzmann.


Dorota Rospierska


Specialist CAMHS Practitioner/Systemic Family Psychotherapist