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How to help your children cope with divorce

A divorce is hard on everyone in the family, but the children almost always suffer the most. This is because they do not necessarily have the maturity or life experience to understand why the divorce was necessary, and children naturally prefer intact families. However, in many situations, divorce really is the best option, and knowing how to help your children through this difficult time can make it easier for everyone.

One of the most important things you can do for your children when you tell them about the divorce is to let them know that it was in no way their fault and that the divorce was necessary. Often parents have shielded their children from the problems in the marriage, and the divorce can come as a bit of a shock. Ideally, both parents should be present when telling the children about the divorce and honest answers given as age appropriately as possible. It's also important to gently tell the children that a reconciliation is not going to happen so they can begin to accept and move forward with the new normal.

It's also important to make sure that your children know that both of their parents still want to be a part of their lives, love them and are there for whatever they need. Most children in today's world are familiar with the concept of divorce from TV, the media or friends, and they are going to immediately have questions about the logistics and how they will continue to have a relationship with both parents.

As you go forward with your divorce, it is normal and expected for there to be times where you are upset or confused on what to do next. It's important not to put the children in the place of feeling like they have to solve these problems. If you have questions about the next steps, the best person to talk to is a family law attorney.

Source: Psychology Today, "How Do We Tell the Kids About the Divorce?," Edward Kruk Ph.D., accessed May. 15, 2015

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