Divorce and children, part one

There are few things more complicated than going through a divorce with children. You cannot shield your children from this difficult life experience – you cannot keep them from feeling pain – but you can take steps to minimize the impact your Maryland divorce has on them.

In this blog post and the next, we will discuss tips for helping your children during and after a divorce.

  1. Do not pit your children against the other parent: This tip may seem obvious, but the emotional impact of a divorce can lead to irrational actions. Your children deserve to be loved during this time. They may become bitter and confused if they are put in the middle of your divorce or custody battles.
  2. Tell your children that none of this is their fault: It is very common for children to feel responsible for their parents’ divorce. Remind your children that you and their other parent love them very much and that the divorce has nothing to do with them.
  3. Be honest: This is one of the most difficult tips for parents to follow during divorce. You do not need to tell your children the exact reason you are getting a divorce or speak about the animosity between you and the other parent. However, there is some information children should hear. For example, talk to them about how their lives are going to change, how they may live in two different places, etc. Answer their questions honestly, and constantly remind them that you love them very much.
  4. Remember that your children are not adults: This sounds easier than it is. Many times, parents will confide in their children, talking to them about how they feel and what the divorce is doing / has done to them. They will use their children as messengers and have their children make decisions that are better left to the parents. Remember, your children are children – they deserve to grow up without adult worries.
  5. Take time to listen to your children: Just like your children need time to be children, they also need time to express their grief. Children will often hide their feelings because they are afraid of making their parents feel worse. Let your children know that you are there for them and, if necessary, consider therapy or another outlet for your children.

Source: School Family, “Divorce: How to Help Your Child at Home and at School,” Patti Ghezzi.

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