Helping Children Cope with Separation and Divorce

  • Lisa Parkinson
Part of the Practical Social Work book series (PSWS)


Adults often find it very hard to help children cope with the pain of separation and divorce. Parents may avoid discussing their decisions with their children because they are so upset and confused themselves. They may also believe they are protecting their children by not telling them what is going on, in case it upsets them. Social workers and other professionals may discuss the problems of divorce only with the parents, perhaps because they lack experience in working with children and fear increasing their distress. But we underestimate children’s perceptiveness and the isolation they experience if we talk about them instead of with them, without giving them the information and reassurance they need about decisions that directly concern them. The sensitive and thought-provoking book (Krementz, 1985) from which the quotations at the beginning of this chapter are taken (pp. 10–11, 17, 23, 25, 33, 72) may jolt us into recognising that even young children can have more understanding of the emotional consequences of separation than adults may imagine


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Copyright information

© British Association of Social Workers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa Parkinson

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