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How parents can help a child cope with divorce

It's normal for anyone going through a divorce to feel overwhelmed by the financial, logistical and emotional changes and challenges. For divorcing parents, however, the challenges presented by a divorce are often magnified and much more complex.

As children grow up, every parent wants to provide them with a safe, loving and happy home environment. The fact is that when parents aren't happy, a child will pick up on the tension and emotional turmoil and may be negatively affected. Parents who choose to divorce, therefore, often reason that doing so is best for the entire family. While this may be true, particularly in the long run, it's likely a child will have some difficulty adjusted to his or her parents' divorce.

Amid attempting to deal with their own emotions during a divorce, parents must ensure for the physical and emotional wellbeing of a child. Obviously every child is unique and will be impacted by and cope with a divorce in their own way. There are, however, some basic things that every child needs when trying to cope with the changes and confusion that often accompany divorce.

  • Time: Parents would be wise to provide a child with the time he or she needs to adjust to change. Both parents should also make sure to spend ample time with a child and make time for fun and play.
  • Communication: A child is likely to have many questions about a divorce. It's important for parents to come to a consensus on what to communicate to a child and to continually remind a child that he or she is loved and the divorce is not their fault.
  • Consistency: A divorce presents many changes for a child, none of which were their choice. Changes in living, child custody and education arrangements can leave a child feeling very unsettled. It's important therefore, that, when possible, both parents work to provide predictable routines.

Michigan parents who plan to divorce or who are going through the divorce process would be wise to take a step back and look at things from a child's perspective. There's no rulebook when it comes to divorce and children. There are, however, steps parents can take to make the divorce process easier on a child.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Remember, Your Children Are Going Through This Divorce Too," Michelle Crosby, May 6, 2014

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How parents can help a child cope with divorce | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC