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Preparing your child for divorce

Photo of Karen Lavin

Divorce, like many things, is what you make of it. If you are a parent, you may be holding enormous anxiety about how to break the news to your children, and how you will address the many ideas that arise as a divorcing parent. While the road ahead may not be an easy one, you have the ability to prepare your own heart and mind to help shepherd your children through this difficult season.

Announcing a divorce is never an easy thing to do, and the manner in which you choose to do it should be tailored to fit the ages, temperament and maturity levels. However, you choose to break the news, it is important to assure the child that the conflicts that have driven you to choose divorce are not his or her fault. You may want to emphasize that, even though the way that you and your spouse love each other has changed, the way you love them as your children never will.

To give your child the greatest probability of responding healthfully to your divorce, there are a number of important, if difficult, sacrifices you must be prepared to make. It is important to keep both parents involved in children's lives throughout a divorce and after, if at all possible. While there are likely to be conflicts between divorcing spouses, it is vital to keep conflicts and discussions of legal matters out of the view of children. This goes double for expressing frustrations about your spouse — in the long run, it will be best for everyone if you refrain from seeding your hurts and disappointments into your children.

In time, a healthy divorce can make way for a family to be a loving, enjoyable place for every member even if that everyone is together. Even though your marriage is ending, your family may still be tied together indefinitely. If you need further help preparing for a healthy and respectful divorce, even if you are afraid this is not possible, the guidance of an experienced divorce and family law attorney can lead you through this difficult season to a new life.

Source: Kid's Health, "Helping your child through a divorce," accessed Nov. 03, 2016

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