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Helping Kids Handle Divorce

Helping Kids Handle Divorce

Understanding Their Fears

When children are involved, divorce is a family affair. While spouses and lawyers work through competing differences, children only see that the world they know is changing permanently.

Fears and emotions they cannot verbalize may result in behavioral changes. Family tensions rise.

Some children may even feel responsible for the separation of a parent from the home. Helping children adjust to changing family dynamics requires patience and an understanding of their fears.

Keys to Helping Children During Divorce

Parenting cannot be suspended during a divorce. It must be intensified.

Parents should emphasize communication, and devote time to helping children adjust to the breakup of their family. Here are some keys to successfully transitioning them into the new family structure.

Treat Each Other with Respect – Interacting with courtesy and without rancor can ease tensions the children may be experiencing. The world of the family can remain reasonably intact and secure in a child’s eyes if Mom and Dad are pleasant to each other.

Limit Disputes in Front of Children – Custody disputes, relocation, child support, and alimony are all issues that require resolution, but not in front of children or by disparaging a spouse. Reserve those discussions for the child custody lawyers. At home, focus on the children.

Make Sure They Know they are Loved – Children should be aware that the issues between parents do not change their love for their children.

Encourage Communication – Reassure children and encourage them to discuss their feelings. If they are very young, help them verbalize their feelings. Accept their anger and tears while offering your love and support.

Be Honest – Don’t hide the truth or make excuses for it. Children see, hear, and understand more than others may realize. Hiding the truth can make them doubt you and increase their feelings of insecurity.

Involve Others Where Appropriate – Concerned relatives and friends can offer additional support to children, reducing stress on all parties. They must refrain from criticizing or offering opinions to children about the divorce. Not every family member or friend can do this so choose your support helpers wisely.

Focus on their Best Interests

Child custody lawyers and parents focused on the best interests of the children can remove much of the trauma of divorce for children. A marital breakup does not have to mean the end of their family.

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