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Divorce may result in painful issues for parents and children

Divorce in Missouri is difficult on minor children just as it is everywhere else. The same universal dynamics repeatedly arise to fill the children with hurt and uncertainty. They become self-critical and wonder what they did to encourage the divorce. They question where they will live, go to school, who they will live with, and whether they may be compelled to take sides in a family law dispute that pits one parent against the other.

The news of a divorce may not always be a total surprise to a child but the official announcement may bring on a tidal wave of sad emotions. Those feelings may have been festering for months or even years so that there may be value in having it finally out on the table. The one silver lining may be that the parents and the children can now discuss the necessary changes freely. It allows for communicating together about coping, surviving and handling the divorce and separation in the best way possible.

When a child acts out and exhibits a flood of negative emotions, discussion may not be immediately feasible or appropriate. Discussion about the crisis is usually best accomplished the next day. The parent can agree with the child that the challenge and the pain are difficult to handle. The parent must not, however, excuse abhorrent behavior or hurtful disrespect.

The parent can explain that the family members will commit to acting like adults and will not play games to harm each other. It is helpful to let the child know that they will get through the difficult times together and be stronger for it. Being a decisive leader and one clearly in control of a difficult situation can inspire the children to seek a healthy path forward. Facing divorce in Missouri with these guiding principles can make a lasting difference in how one's children adjust to painful life challenges.                                              

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