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How Parents Can Minimize the Negative Effects of Divorce on Children

Posted by on in Divorce
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How you break the news to your children can make a big difference in how they cope with the separation or divorce, as can the conduct between spouses during the process.

If possible, it is best for your children if you and your spouse break the news together. This shows the kids that you both are taking responsibility for the separation or divorce and that the two of you still care for them. It also gives your children an opportunity to ask questions and react.

Be judicious when sharing details about what caused the separation and take into account your children’s ages. Explaining general reasons for the separation may be appropriate for older children, though it is usually only necessary to tell younger children you are breaking up due to “grown-up reasons.”

During the conversation, be sure to reinforce that your children are not the reason for theseparation or divorce, since this is often a major fear children have. Help your children understand that the separation or divorce will be permanent, and be honest about your own feelings about the situation, since this will help show your kids that it is okay to express emotions during this difficult time.

Keep It Civil

One of the most important things you can do to help your kids through a divorce is keep your relationship with your spouse civil. Remember that your spouse is still the parent of your children, regardless of the acrimony that may exist between the two of you.

Unless it is physically or emotionally unsafe for your children, be respectful of your spouse’s time with your kids. Try not to put down your spouse or put your kids in a situation where they feel they need to choose between one parent or the other.

Studies have shown that the primary indicator of how well kids will cope with their parents’ divorce is the level of conflict they witness or are a part of in the home. The more conflict they are subjected to, the more likely they will react poorly to the divorce and fail to adjust well. On the other hand, kids who experience low levels of conflict in the home tend to cope better. Try not to fight in front of your kids or involve your kids in conflicts with your spouse.

How Kids May React

Though every child is different, many kids experience anger and a sense of loss during the separation or divorce of their parents. It is important to continue to nurture your relationships with your kids and keep the structure of their days as consistent as possible. For many children, knowing what things will not change is just as important as knowing what things will change.

Learning that their parents are separating or getting divorced is not easy for children, and dealing with emotions that arise as a result can be complicated. If you are considering separation or divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss custody issues before informing children of the pending divorce. Divorce attorney Ablie Myburgh of Myburgh Law, P.C., says “It’s already a difficult process for children of divorce – but telling them they can live with mommy or daddy before there is a legal custody agreement in place can be even more devastating to the child when plans change.

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Guest Tuesday, 23 July 2024