Divorce with children - How do you arrange this carefully?

In the background the orchestra plays your love song, the song that is so typical of your relationship. A song full of memories of love, hope and a new phase in your life. Full of tenderness you look at each other and you feel melt when you look into his eyes, so much love and warmth, enough for a lifetime ...

No more heat or love

At least that's what you thought about that beautiful wedding day. Now, some time later, you can no longer discover warmth or love in his eyes. Anger or perhaps disinterest, but in any case no love anymore. The cake is gone. What once started so nicely ends here and now, but you are no longer together ... there is a child born or maybe several. A matter of careful handling. Because they have to suffer as little damage as possible here. And that will sometimes mean that you have to bite your tongue for a moment and not be able to sprinkle your emotions unbridled in a fit of sadness. How tempting that sometimes will be.


In this report we speak about divorce and marriage. It goes without saying that this information is also suitable for cohabiting partners who decide to terminate their relationship. By choosing the terms 'divorced' and 'marriage' we have tried to keep the reportage as clear as possible.
However, ending a relationship has the same impact for your child as a divorce. For him it does not matter whether his parents are married or not.

How many divorces per year

At the moment the wedding bells are reverberating in your ears, you do not think that there could ever be a moment for you that a separation is unavoidable. Yet the risk is in it! The number of divorces in the Netherlands in 2014 was no less than 35,000. That is 5 percent more than in 2013. The number of divorces is thus back to the level of 2008 (including the then still existing possibility of flash separations). In 2009, the number of divorces decreased to almost 32 thousand, after which it increased again slightly. In 2012 and 2013 there were about 33 thousand.
The chance that your marriage goes wrong is a lot bigger than that you have a chance to win a nice prize in the Staatsloterij.

The figures are from:

Reason for divorce

Did you know that the majority of all divorces of the woman goes out? But whether or not the idea of โ€‹โ€‹divorce comes from you is actually not that interesting. Your life will be turned upside down anyway. Of a married mother you are suddenly a single parent Chaos in your head or not, for your children you are just The parent who always arranges everything and for them the world must go on as normal as possible. Not an easy task when a rollercoaster of emotions rages in your head.

Arguments to want to divorce

01. Because the characters collide
02. Because there is another in the game
03. Because expectations have not been fulfilled
04. Grown apart
05. The relationship has never really represented anything
06. Did not come to himself within the relationship
07. Life's love must be more beautiful
08. The relationship has not survived hard times
09. Can not communicate with each other
10. Looking forward to partner
11. Partner is violent
12. Partner is addicted

Source: Divorce - Good parents together with your ex

Separation and children, how do you tell?

According to Statistics Netherlands, almost 35,000 children were divorced in 2007. In 1997, there were still 5,000 fewer.
The bullet is through the church the separation is final. When and how do you tell your child (ren)? Undoubtedly your child will already have noticed a few things about the tensions in the house, maybe he did not speak or talk about it, but children are not crazy and feel tensions very well. Making the topic open to discussion gives him the opportunity to talk about it too.

It's about him

Tell him about your intention and together try to do everything he can to reassure him. Of course you can show your emotions (then your child will show his emotions sooner), but they can not get the upper hand. It's about him right now. Tell your child clearly what is going on without going into details, in a way that is clear to him. Try to avoid pointing out a 'guilty' with a finger. Be honest, do not give him hope and listen carefully to what your child tells, thinks and feels. Tell him what will change for him but tell him what will remain the same for him. For example, the important fact that you both continue to love him dearly!

The experience from your child

Your child is often aware of no harm. He knows no better than that his parents will be together forever and ever. His trust is therefore put to the test. In addition, (in most cases) everything changes as well. Think of a possible move, one of the parents less often see, the tension between the parents, working hours of the parent can change, maybe even to another school ... Almost nothing remains the same. Logically that your child can be anxious during this period and because of this can get behavioral problems. So many emotions and insecurities in such a small head, is almost asking for problems ... and he can not do anything about it!

How from a child's emotions?

It is often difficult for a child to talk about it, but you will certainly get to know different expressions of his grief and insecurity ... Just think of bedwetting, arguing with friends and girlfriends, looking for attention, pushing boundaries, listening badly. It will take a lot of your patience to deal with the powerlessness of your child. Your child will also feel scared and lonely. He finally misses a parent and his love for both parents is unconditional.


Your child does not know what to expect and can even feel guilty about the divorce. Even if parents do not give any reason, this is possible.
There are also children who feel relieved and satisfied after a divorce. Especially after a period of many quarrels. A child can also get confused by this feeling. After all, he does not want to be happy or relieved with the departure of one of the parents. So no matter how your child feels, this uncertain period can be fearful to him and he can show problem behavior. It is therefore very important that you pay attention to the way your child reacts and that the subject keeps him / her open to discussion.

Loyalty conflict

Your child loves both parents. He therefore does not want to choose at all, he might not even be able to. In this case, children are really between shore and ship. When they comfort a parent, he has the feeling of losing the other and thus being unfaithful to the love of the other ... But it does not give a good feeling if he has no consolation ... Actually he can never feel right to do. Talk about this with your child and explain to him very clearly that he can love both parents as much and he never has to choose!

Is a divorce by definition a trauma for a child?

A divorce does not necessarily mean a trauma for children, it depends on how you deal with it as a parent. And that is only possible if you do not always put yourself first but put the interests of the children first. And all that at a time when it is also a coming and going of emotions like anger, fear, grief, aggression, guilt, shame, upheaval, idealization, disbelief, insecurity, despair, disappointment, anger ... It seems an unfeasible business but it is not impossible!
Crucial is good handling with your partner. How difficult that might be! You may no longer be partners, but you do share parenting and the obligations and responsibility to your child (ren) do not change anything with a divorce.

How can you help your child?

Always stay alert

There may be signs that indicate that your child is not properly processing the separation. He can withdraw and refuse to talk about anything, or show the opposite behavior by being very helpful and easy. But it can also happen that your child is very angry, disobedient or reckless. Or maybe your child will lose interest and enthusiasm in his hobby (s), will he urinate in his bed again or suddenly find it very difficult to leave somewhere. Stay alert and keep listening to your child very well.

Be honest with your child

Talk to your child and explain to him that this separation has absolutely nothing to do with him. Your child desperately needs these remarks - even if he never says anything in that direction, this can haunt him. You can not emphasize it often enough. Be clear and honest about the situation and do not make him empty promises. Children have a flawless feeling when you distort or conceal information. Especially now that his trust is already faltering, it is important that you do not - unnecessarily - allow this to falter. Not even if you are well-intentioned to ease his pain.

Remove his fear

Your child can get all kinds of fears in his head. For example that he will never be the other parent again, or that suddenly there will be no more money for his club. Give him the opportunity to express his fears, take them seriously and reassure him.

There are no guilty

You absolutely do not help your child with it when you make your ex-partner black. Your child will only get into a loyalty conflict and no one is waiting for that. If you want to discuss something with your ex-partner, you do that with him (or her) and not through your child (ren). Your child (ren) loves you both and he should not be bothered.

Do not hesitate

If you can not manage your child well, do not hesitate to ask advice from an expert.

Acceptance and processing

You can not process and process relationship within a few days. On average, this takes no less than two to three years. According to the experts, all seasons must have passed at least 2x. Important point for processing is to be aware of the fact that your relationship has gone wrong and the acceptance of it. If you can see why the relationship no longer works, that is already a good starting point. Unfortunately, parents often do not see this at the same time. Therefore always try to take into account the view of the other person. Understanding for the other is a good basis for a good attitude between you in the future.

Parenting and authority

It is important that you maintain authority as both parents. In the book Separating - Good parents together with your ex, good tips are given on how to maintain authority:

  • Be clear in your own parenting methods and rules;
  • Be disciplined and offer structure;
  • Endure the fact that your ex takes care of the care in his / her way;
  • Do not let yourself be manipulated or played against each other by your children;
  • Do not undermine your parental authority by your ex and do not do it yourself;
  • Get rid of irritations about your ex and respect him / her as a parent;
  • Do not try to be father and mother at the same time and demanding the impossible from yourself;
  • Let children also do something in the household;
  • Do not throw all of your child's behavior on the divorce;
  • Make sure you take time for yourself so that you do not become overburdened;
  • Do not overcompensate with indulgence or exaggerated severity.

Parental plan

The Act on continued parenting and careful separation entered into force on 1 March 2009. The law requires parents who are divorcing to arrange the care for their children in advance. They have to draw up a parenting plan, containing the agreements they have made about:

  • dividing the care for their children
  • the alimony for the children
  • information exchange: parents must inform each other
  • keep talking about their children

Parents must also indicate how they have informed their children about and involved in the agreements.

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