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Children and Divorce

Updated on July 28, 2008

Kramer Vs. Kramer


One of the biggest fears parents must face during a divorce, is how drastic this major change will affect their children's lives. It's a terrifying feeling, not knowing how to help your child cope with the devastation, as seen through their eyes. Parents are overwhelmed themselves, and may become conflicted as to what the best steps to follow would be, regarding their children.

Divorce becomes the realization that your family will never be the same again. Divorce is on the rise, and becoming increasingly commonplace. Over a million families deal with divorce every year. Researchers have shown that children dealing with the breakup of their parents are very often left with many agonizing questions. One of the most painful experiences they will ever have to survive. Children are left confused as to why this is happening. Even though, there could have been a lot of fighting and turmoil in the home leading up to this, children will still react with shock. Children will imagine that somehow they are to blame. "Was it something I did", "If only I behaved", "Is mommy or daddy mad at me?" are some typical questions a child might think. It is very difficult for them to understand the final decision that their family will be split apart. Children are left to cope with their ever-changing emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, and depression.

Here are 3 major tips that might lessen the torment and insecurity your child might feel in the beginning.

1. It is very important to let children know as soon as possible that a final decision has been made. They need to know what to expect and when things will begin to change. If a parent suddenly leaves the home without any explanation, the child will be left with feelings of separation anxiety and abandonment issues.

2. Children want to know why. They don't need to know any sordid details, but they do need to know the main reason and that the ultimate decision was reached by both parents. This will help alleviate the blame they may be putting on themselves, and reassure them that it doesn't have anything to do with the love both parents have for the child.

3. Let your children know that no matter what, you both will always be there for them. They will need to be told, sometimes repeatedly, that mom and dad will be a stable constant in their lives. This is usually one of their greatest fears.

It takes time and most children live with a constant fantasy that someday their parents will reunite and they will again become a whole family. This can cause confusion and might hold them back , temporarily, from moving forward, but it will become easier to accept over time and with loving reinforcement.


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