Dad-proof tips: Helping your child during a divorce/separation

man siting with girl on focus photography

The way you and your ex-partner behave will have an impact on your children’s ability to adjust well to the separation, now and into the future. Be considerate of this, and conscious of your behaviour from the beginning.

It’s a difficult journey for everyone involved but ensuring you continue to check in with your children  to see how they’re coping is important. Children don’t always communicate their worries with words – their responses to separation may be expressed in behaviour.

Signs your child may need some help:

  • Sleep problems
  • Poor concentration
  • Trouble at school
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Frequent angry or violent outbursts
  • Withdrawal from loved ones
  • Refusal to participate in their favourite activities.

Top tips to help your child through a separation/divorce 

  • Give lots of closeness, hugs and cuddles if they look for it (and even when they don’t)
  • Provide comfort and time to talk about their fears and concerns
  • Give them an opportunity to talk about what is happening
  • Reassure them that they won’t have to choose between you and the other parent
  • Answer questions honestly, even if they seem silly
  • Avoid putting the other parent down.

If you feel your child is really not coping you may need to see your GP for some advice and support. Many schools will also have a counselling service or similar.

There is further help and support available, you can contact:

Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 or

Mensline on 1300 78 99 78 or

More on this topic

Podcast with Family Mediator, Lisanne Iriks, access it here. 
Purchase our separated dads book here.

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