child of divorce

What a Child of Divorce Needs

Divorce manufactures a substantial list of effects on children. When one foundation is crumbling, it’s very important to have another foundation in place ready to take its place. What are the things that your children are going to need most from you as life transitions? Answering and acting on that sentiment will have a great impact on the future. Not all divorces end in bad news stories for kids.

“My parents divorced when I was young, but I was brought up in two really loving households. I didn’t have a contentious relationship with my mom or dad.” – Matt Damon, actor

The great hope would be that if divorce is going to happen, the story for the kids would end up like Matt’s. Two parents coming together in unison for the greater cause of their shared children and designing a path forward that leads to success for all. The reason this grand hope often fails is because there are real problems why divorce is the solution. There is anger, bitterness, resentment, betrayal, and any number of other negative things standing in the way. Those things are poison to the life of a child.

How do we limit them from seeping beyond the marriage itself? It will require serious personal sacrifice and a determined perseverance to turn divorce for your family into a happy ending, but it’s entirely possible. Dealing with the effects on children is step one. Here are 5 things a child of divorce needs from their dad.

The End of Conflict

Even in most wars, eventually, the hostilities stop. A cease-fire is declared and the terms of the settlement are ironed out. Often with divorces, battles rage nonstop—long after separation. That is deadly to the life of the family. As a leader, a dad needs to find the higher road and stay on it, no matter where the fault lies. [Tweet This] It is imperative that a child sees their dad having respect for their mother.

Strong Communication

Your child needs to be absolutely certain you aren’t abandoning them. No matter how you present it, that is going to be their fear because your presence is no longer going to be constant. Children do not know the things we know, and they haven’t been matured by life experiences to be able to understand what an adult does. They do, however, understand fear, and they are going to have it. It requires strong and constant communication, along with proof by action, that you will remain steady in their lives as their father.

Economic Responsibility

Plain and simple. Don’t be the guy under the label: Deadbeat Dads. The Urban Dictionary describes that guy like this: A father who does not provide for a family that he was part of creating. Does not have morals or a responsible enough nature to realize how difficult he is making life for his family. Do the right thing, even if it means financial hardship for you.

Maintain Structure and Discipline

A whole new batch of temptations can come at a man coming out of divorce. Maintaining personal discipline and family structure is vital for not only your children, but for your own happiness moving forward.

Carry the Burden

After the fear of abandonment, the next great worry on the mind of your child will be, What did I do wrong? That idea left to fester in his/her soul could gnaw at them the rest of their lives. Get to that feeling right away, and talk them through the process of why it is all happening. To be successful will require some hard truth that you might not have wanted to share, but they need to know. Spare the gritty details, but make sure the children know this is your burden to carry, not their own.

Sound Off

Let us know some of the ways you've successfully handled divorced parenting.

  • Trent

    I would add to your list. I have heard of men committing suicide over divorce and depression can lead in because of the factors you listed. The end of a relationship and then becoming a part time parent. It is important to stay mentally and physically strong for your kids. The temptation of women, drugs or alcohol can lead one down a depressive path and downward spiral, and too your ex could be a total mental case and constantly on you about finances, schedules etc. It is imperative to have a Mental laser focus on the children and find an outlet for the anger and depression that can set in. I exercise and read when I don’t have my kids (which we split 50/50 custody). I hate that term deadbeat dads. I think it is thrown out too loosely, there are men who don’t support their children absolutely, but men are primarily 90% of the time paying the child support and some cases being jailed and kept from their children when they can’t afford it. The states are incentived by our federal govt. to collect. Watch Divorce Corp. if you get a chance. Eye opening as I experienced the bias in the family courts. I think it is getting better every day, be an advocate for your rights as a parent 50-50 should be the norm. We as fathers are as important as the mother and is contrary to how the media portrays us. Thanks for this site.

    • James Gay

      Trent, you probably have a 50/50 custody through mutual consent. Try 28/72 in South Carolina Courts. contested and costly to the father, with no success. Divorce Corp was appalling but true, my children will be raised by step-parents at my cost. Senate Bill S-0151 is just for show. Govt. would rather fix roads than families.

      • Trent

        James, I am in a provisional part of my case and the divorce is not final. We’ve been separated since Oct. 2014. The judge determined 50/50 for custody although she didn’t object. That is terrible James, I’m sorry. Men continue to get railroaded by family courts in South Carolina and all over the U.S.

      • Paul_Sp

        That would cause me to lose it and possibly end up in prison.

  • NES

    Oh How this story hits home with me. I come from Divorced Parents and my life was not like Matt’s experience. Today, I have been divorced for nearly 10 years and have been estranged from my children, Nicole 15 for 5 years and my son Zechariah for 7 years. I have tried and tried the courts and have surrendered my kids to the Lord. I have sent over 100 letters and cards as well as call their home. But to no avail, I am in deep anguish and travail. I have prayed for my ex but she is still carrying bitterness and lives in fear. All Pro Dad .. please keep me in prayer, I believe my one day is coming soon.

    • BJ_Foster

      We will. I can’t even imagine the pain you must be experiencing. I know this is no consolation but I think all of the things you are doing are the right things. I admire your faith and persistence. Don’t stop. Keep praying, writing, and calling. I am praying with you.

      • NES

        Thank you B.J for praying with me. Appreciate you Brother.

    • Paul_Sp


      • NES


    • Trent

      Are you estranged because of a court order or she moved away from you?

      • NES

        Does it matter?? Ex wife has alienated them from me and my whole family. Trent .Just Pray like B.J.

        • Trent

          Yes, it does. I have been alienated also. I was merely offering a helping hand. Hoping for the best for you and your kids.

          • NES

            Then Pray , no advice or teaching needed but thank you for offering.

    • Rotton fish

      There has to be a reason why a woman is this angry. Porn, affair/s (emotional = an affair), other addictions?? A typical pattern would be the offending spouse trying to resolve his guilt/shame etc by attempting to paint himself in a better light often at the wife’s expense. Have you examined your heart as to why she is so bitter? Are you being honest with yourself and show her profound remorse and a true desire for repentance if there was any type of betrayal? This sounds like your ex wife has been very very hurt by something in your past.

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