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Now That Your Marriage Is Over, How Do You Help The Kids Cope?
Witnessing the divorce of my parents at an fairly early age (my parents divorced when I was ten), I can unanimously say that divorce is an extremely painful process. While the experts voice different opinions concerning the effect divorce has on children, speaking from personal experience, divorce shatters the lives of many youngsters - regardless of their ages.
Through no fault of their own, children may find themselves thrust in a whirlwind of emotions. Confusion and shock over what has taken place; pain from watching their parents separate; and fear of losing everything and everyone that once represented stability in their lives.
So what then, can parents do to help their children successfully cope with the repercussions of a divorce?
* Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.
Let your child know what is going on. If the situation allows it, both parents should sit down and inform their child/children that their decision to divorce is final. In addition, both parents should reassure their children that they are still loved, and that the divorce is not their (children's) fault.
* Get Over It Already!
Some divorced parents stay caught up in one skirmish after another. So much so, that one expert described these parents as, "legally divorced but still emotionally betrothed combatants who have not been able to negotiate a truce with peace."
Who gets caught up in the mix? The children of course. Therefore, for the sake of your children - get over it already!
* Let Your Child Confide In You.
Some children may reason that 'if my parents stopped loving each other, then they may stop loving me.' To alleviate such fears, let your child confide in you. Take every opportunity to encourage meaningful communication. Provide them with an ample amount of emotional support.
* Encourage A Healthy Relationship Between Your Child And Your Ex.
The book Teens In Turmoil - A Path to Change for Parents, Adolescents, and Their Families stated: "If parents choose to use their children as artillery on the direct battlefield, they must expect to reap what they have sown."
Unfortunately, some parents will either bad mouth their ex to or in front of their children, or they will use them to spy on their ex's life. It's far better however, to encourage a healthy relationship between your child and your ex.
* Take Care Of You.
There's no doubt that divorce is hard on the parents as well. Therefore, take care of yourself by maintaining a balanced and healthy routine. If necessary, join a support group; keep a journal; take up a hobby. Doing so will help your child maintain mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional balance as well.
'Divorce is war,' many counselors are saying. 'Neither party walks away without wounds; nor do the children.' Nevertheless, with patience, perseverance, and unconditional love, parents can be successful at helping their children cope.
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