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Help Your Children Adjust to a Separation

Helping Your Children Adjust to a Separation: Strategies for Australian Parents

Separation isn’t easy. Not for the parents working through the separation. Not for the kids who have a wide range of emotions and their own fears. It is difficult and many children find it difficult to adjust to the separation. But that is a universal truth that is found around the world, including in Australia. After all Australian kids can struggle with the separation and subsequent divorce, but Australian parents can provide them with the support they need to adjust. They just need the right strategies, which is what this article is all about — the right strategies for Australian parents to help their kids adjust to separation. But first, let’s start with some important truths.

The Truths About Children and Separation

Before we launch into the strategies, the first step for Australian parents is to understand that there are several truths they need to understand. These are:

  1. Children will grieve. No matter how supportive we are as parents, this is a major change for everyone, including the kids. And when we have major change, people go through feelings of loss and grief. This is natural and it is okay for kids to feel this way. Don’t discourage these feelings but talk to your child about them. Let them voice the loss they are feeling, or show you that loss in other ways if they are not verbal. The best way to move through that grief is to allow your kids to process it without fear or shame.
  2. Children often misbehave to let their parents know they are hurting. With young kids, this can present as temper tantrums. With teens, it can present as running away or dangerous behaviours.
  3. Children can blame themselves. Sometimes kids don’t let parents know they are thinking this but it’s important to check in with your kids and talk to them about how the separation is not their fault.

Starting from a place of understanding with your kids will help you create better strategies for supporting them during the adjustment from one home to two houses. But let’s look at those strategies.

Do Remember the Positive Memories

When kids are adjusting, they need to remember the good times, especially since the bad times are probably the most recent memories for them. Don’t hesitate to talk about those times before but make sure that you don’t make them think that things will go back to those times. Instead, focus on how you can create new memories together that will be just as good as the past ones.

By doing this, you can help your kids see that the past is good and that the future will be as well. And when you focus on the past, you teach your kids that, even when things look bad, there are still good things to cherish.

Don’t Put Your Kids in the Middle

Remember the good is great but don’t use it as a way to get your kids to pick sides. And definitely don’t put them in the middle of arguments. If you are having issues, keep that between the adults. Don’t ask your kids to pick sides and never use those good memories as ways to get the kids on your sides. Instead, create a rule with your ex-partner that the dissolution of the marriage is only discussed when the kids are not there to avoid arguments. Kids don’t need to know how the house finances are being split, or the reasons behind the split, they just need to know that they have two caring parents who are trying their best to make sure that they are there for their kids no matter what.

Do Create Similar Routines

Kids need stability and a schedule and this is particularly important when they are trying to adjust to a separation. While some changes to the schedule will be inevitable, you can try to keep some things the same, especially between houses. Talk to your co-parent and set up a schedule that stays the same between houses. When kids know what to expect on their day, they can adjust to the separation much faster then if they don’t.

Don’t have Different Rules

This goes back to routines and is often something that is seen hand in hand with scheduling, but it should be pointed out as it is so important for kids to learn to adjust—always have the same rules. If kids are not allowed to have screens an hour before bed at mom’s house, then the same should be followed at dad’s house. If kids can’t go to hang out with certain friends at dad’s house, then the same rule should be followed at mom’s.

When you separate, it is important to set out rules that you and your ex-partner want to keep with the kids and apply them to both homes. When kids have that predictability, they can adjust to change much faster than those who have no predictability in their rules and structures.

Do Nurture Communication with your Ex-Partner

This is especially important when it comes to co-parenting. Kids need to see positive communication between their parents. They need to understand that both parents know what is going on as it will show them that they are important. And it will show them that no matter what, having effective communication will help overcome some of those harder issues that may face throughout life.

Don’t Fight with your Ex-Partner in Front of your Kids

Communication is hard, especially during a separation or divorce and it can be quite easy to slip into arguments with your ex-partner. It is particularly important that you do not argue in front of the kids for several reasons. First, kids may internally take the blame for the argument. This can hurt their confidence and cause more stress and anxiety for them. Second, it can cause the child to feel that they need to take sides. Third, it makes your kids feel that if they show love to one parent or the other, they will be saying that they are picking sides. And this can lead to feelings of isolation for the kids, which only hinders their adjustment to the separation. If you are unable to discuss things with your ex-partner without fighting or arguing, choose a mediator or a mediation app like 2houses.

The main point to remember is that communication, establishing routines and rules and giving your children emotional support are all things that will help them adjust. In the end, all kids are looking for is affirmation that they are still important and still loved no matter whether their family is living between two houses or one.

Why 2houses?

We are a co-parenting facilitator!


A calendar for everyone, getting organised when you’re divorced is a priority. 2houses provides you an online shared schedule, with many editing, adding, and sync features.


For us, as divorced parents, the financial topic is most of the time a conflict topic. Now, 2houses manages all expenses from each parent, keeps you informed on the situation, day after day, coins after coins.


Communication is key, this is why 2houses offers you an online messaging tool, simple, efficient and secure.


The journal is your quick family social network. You can easily share all information, news, photos, videos, and even your children’s funny quotes. The family is never far away, no matter where you are geographically located.

And many more features!

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