updated 24 Dec 2010, 09:19
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Fri, Dec 24, 2010
The Sunday Times
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How to help your kids cope with divorce

In a marital crisis such as infidelity, therapists and counsellors agree that it is up to the individuals involved to decide whether to break the news to their children.

In some cases, discussion of the issue is unavoidable, such as when the child picks up that something is wrong or if one spouse leaves the home. Experts suggest some dos and don'ts for parents.


# Seek professional advice from counsellors and therapists.
# Be aware that children often blame themselves when their parents have problems. They will need to be told that whatever is happening is an adult matter and it is not their fault.
# Plan what you will tell the children. Keep it straightforward, telling them what has changed - perhaps that one parent is moving out - and what has not - that they are loved and will have quality time with both parents.
# Speak to the children together.
# Listen to your children's concerns. Parents do not need to have all the answers but they must take the questions seriously.


# Don't bad-mouth your spouse to your children. Whether or not you remain man and wife, both of you will always be parents to your children.

It is natural for the betrayed spouse, in particular, to be overwhelmed with feelings of hurt but do not let these take over your talks with your children. Seek safe spaces to let off steam, such as a support group.

# Don't quarrel in front of the children. If it is hard to control tempers, take the discussion outside, perhaps to a neutral place such as a counsellor's office.

Getting help

Here are some support groups and hotlines:


# The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports provides services including counselling to help families or individuals resolve their personal and emotional difficulties. These are usually provided by Family Service Centres islandwide.

Contact: Call ComCare at 1800-222-0000 to find the centre serving your area.

# The New Rainbow Support Group is for betrayed spouses to help them heal and recover from the effects of their partners' infidelity. The next support group meeting is on March 23.

Contact: Call 6476-1481 or e-mail [email protected]

# Parentline (Covenant Family Service Centre) helps adults with parenting issues.

Contact: Call 6289-8811


# Tinkle Friend Helpline for children aged 12 and below.

Contact: Call 1800-274-4788

# Touchline for those aged 13 to 25.

Contact: Call 1800-377-2252

# Log on to the Metoyou Cyber-counselling Chatroom at

This article was first published in The Sunday Times.

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