Children of Divorce and their Friendships

Published: January 31, 2012 | Last Updated: January 31, 2012 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading

a parent goes through a divorce, there can be friendship fallout for kids



Dear Irene,

My formerly popular 11-year old
granddaughter is being shunned by her BFFs to the point that she doesn’t want
to go to school (which she formerly loved). Her parents are going through a
divorce, and it’s hit her the hardest. It could be that she’s done something to
annoy her girlfriends but the ringleader has cut her off from everyone (small,
private school). Should her mom consult the school counselor? Teacher? Or just
let the kids work it out?

Signed, Sue



Dear Sue,

Preteen girls can be pretty tough on
each other, especially when they are in groups. That said: The allegiances in
middle school change quickly.


If you’re granddaughter is avoiding
school or finding it painful to attend, it might be useful to give her the
opportunity to speak to a trusted adult about her specific concerns. A good
start might be a talk with you or her mother. For example, she may be
embarrassed or be having a hard time explaining the divorce to her friends.


This conversation might give the adults
who care about her more insight into what is creating the distance between her
and her former friends. In addition, an adult may be able to coach her on some
helpful strategies for resolving her friendship issues. If neither her mother
nor you feel adequate at this role, you can have her speak to a counselor at
school. The emphasis should be on giving her the tools to work it out on her
own rather than working it out for her.


Divorce can be painful for kids of any
age but since it is more common than it was when you or I were growing up,
there’s a bit less stigma attached to it. In fact, many schools have counseling
groups for kids living through a divorce. If your granddaughter’s school is too
small to have such a group, it could be helpful to let the guidance counselor
and teacher know what has happened within the family.


In the meantime, encourage your
granddaughter to invite a friend over to do homework or for a sleepover.
Perhaps, if she feels close to one or two kids from school, she’ll be more
comfortable leaving the house in the morning.


If this turns out to be a more intense
type of school phobia, she might benefit from seeing a psychologist,
psychiatrist or psychiatric social worker.


Hope this helps. She is lucky to have a
concerned and vigilant grandmother like you.

Warm regards, Irene



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Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Kids need insight Irene on how to deal with the ringleader. These girls are so viscous and mean. I would love to see a story on loyalty. What happened to friends sticking by you when you have a problem like divorce. I think a counselor should bring the ringleaders mother in and give her a big talking to. Exclusion is bullying – plain and simple. This poor girl is going through enough and then the little brat ringleader turns everyone against her. Shape up parents and have your girls stick up for the underdog. Would it be so hard for one of these girls to have this child over so the girl and the mother could get a break. NO BECAUSE OF THE RINGLEADER. Get a backbone girls and tell the ringleader NO. That’s what I teach my kids. Thanks Irene for all the great things you have on this website. I am so sorry to be so harsh but I do snacks once a week at my kids middle school and would rather stick a fork in my eye then have to go through what these girls do.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Divorce is hard on everyone, but especially the kids. Thanks for offering insight into one of the unexpected side effects.

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