Home » Steps » Protect Children » A Child’s Needs During Divorce

Here are some simple needs from a child trying to navigate through the emotional impact of a divorce.

I need to know that my parents’ divorce is not my responsibility.

I need a developmentally appropriate explanation of why the divorce is occurring.

I need to spend time with both of my parents, regardless of grown-up wants and wishes regarding convenience, money, or their feelings. It is important to receive continuing care and guidance from both of my parents. I OWN VISITATION; IT IS MY RIGHT, NOT THE RIGHT OF MY PARENTS.

I need to have a regular daily and weekly routine, one that is not filled with alternating patterns and disruption.

I need to not have to blame or choose sides.

I need to be able to like both of my parents since they are both a part of me and I need to be reassured that this is okay.

I need to love many people (stepparents, relatives, etc.) without guilt or being made to feel disloyal: the more love I give, the more I have to give – and the more love I receive.

I may be angry, sad, and fearful and I need to express those feelings.

I need to not have to make adult decisions.

I need to remain a child, and NOT to replace a parent in my duties NOR to be an adult companion, friend, or comforter to my parents.

I need to NEVER HAVE TO CHOOSE WITH WHOM I LIVE. This is a decision for wise adults. Having to make such a choice will always hurt someone else, and therefore, me. I may feel this way even when I’m a teenager and people wish I were able to make the decision – I CAN NEVER CHOOSE BETWEEN MY PARENTS.