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Talking to children about their parents' divorce

Regardless of how a divorce is resolved, the time leading up to both filing and finalizing is hard on families. Children of all ages in particular feel the sting of life changing times. Parents once united are now divided.

Whether they are adolescents or young adults, the impact can be the same. Dealing with the emotional roller coaster often involves guidance from friends and family members to help sons and daughters cope with the end of their parents' marriages.

The simple act of candid conversation can make a difference. Taking the time to speak to children of divorce can bring issues out into the open that may include the following:

  • Children need time to grieve the end of an important chapter and take time to adjust to the new family structure.
  • Feeling guilt and taking blame does not help, as children had no control over the fate of their parents' marriage.
  • Whether before or after a divorce, children should not make it their mission to fix their parents' relationship with hopes of a reunion.
  • Young children are entitled to their childhood instead of replacing a parent as the defacto head of the household or homemaker.
  • Children should not choose one parent over the other or serve as a spokesperson or messenger to adults who can and should communicate on their own.
  • Encourage children to have empathy without becoming protectors to parents who can take care of themselves.
  • While life changes, everyday routines should remain and bring a sense of certainty during uncertain times.

An open and honest approach not only helps with the divorce transition, but also finding closure. Certain types of advice may help some people, but not everyone. Yet, divorce mediation can be a universal way of uniting people to find common ground. With the help of a skilled attorney-mediator, parents can work together to resolve their issues so they can move on with lives going in separate directions.

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