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Helping your children through divorce

Divorce can be a heart-wrenching process, especially when children are in the picture. You may fear you will not be able to help your kids. Thankfully, you can do a lot to help your children cope with the breakup of your marriage.

The most crucial thing to remember is that your kids need you to offer them hope, reassurance and stability. Here are some tips for accomplishing this.

Breaking the bad news

At some point, you need to have a conversation with your children about the divorce. How you inform your kids about an impending breakup depends on multiple factors:

  • The age of your children
  • The amount of animosity between you and the other parent
  • Your living situation

If possible, both parents should be present for the conversation. Try to speak simply and allow your child to react with sadness or anger. Have this conversation on a relaxing time of day without other commitments. If you have teenagers, you may need to give them more time to digest the news.

Minimizing the effects of divorce

Here are some tips for helping your kids cope with the negative effects of divorce:

  • Avoid bad-mouthing your ex. Do not expose your kids to your arguments.
  • Try your best to maintain community ties and family routines.
  • Encourage your kids to have a positive relationship with the other parent.

Be aware that some kids will have more trouble handling the separation of their parents. Older children may experience depression or aggressiveness. Younger kids may display regressive behaviors such as bedwetting or becoming excessively clingy. If you notice ongoing and serious problems, you may want to seek help from a therapist.

Nothing can make the process happy or simple, but following these guidelines will make it easier on your kids. Just make sure your kids know they are loved and supported despite the fact their parents are separating.

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