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Divorcing with Kids: What to Say

Posted on in Divorce
child divorce reactionPerhaps the only thing more challenging than navigating a divorce is doing so when there are children involved. Cases differ in circumstances, but for the most part, it is generally true that parents are very concerned with the well-being of the children as they go through this process and their family is ultimately changed. There is no shortage of advice for divorcing parents with children, and many parents welcome ways to make the transition easier for their kids. A recent article suggests 10 things that all parents who are going through a divorce should say to their children for encouragement and reinforcement during this difficult time.

Advice for the Children

  1. Assure them that what is happening between you and your spouse is not their fault. It is normal for them to look for reasons their parents are divorcing, and some children may blame themselves.

  2. Validate their emotions by letting them know there is no wrong way for them to feel. Their emotions can fall on a spectrum, just as is possible for the spouses who are divorcing. Whether they feel sad or angry, let them know their feelings are natural and realize they may change over time.

  3. Make sure they have access to outside support in the event it is needed or wanted. Depending on the circumstances and your individual child, professional help may be warranted.

  4. Tell them that both you and your spouse love them. Reassure them the divorce is between you as spouses and not between either parent and them. Even if their living arrangements will change, be sure they know this has nothing to do with how much either parent loves them.

  5. Be sure they realize that parents may show their love in different ways. Comparing one parent’s actions against the other is not fair for any of the parties involved. Remind the children that the way a parent spends times with them is not connected to how much the parents love them.

  6. Reinforce that the divorce does not define your children and that they are the same people they were before.

  7. Make it clear that the child’s relationship with each parent is separate from the other. Children should feel they are maintaining a private, independent relationship with each parent. This means parents should also avoid trying to pry into the other parent’s relationship with the children.

  8. Do not let the children think they have to fix the marriage. The problems that led to divorce likely were at play for a long time between the spouses only, and the children were likely not aware of the problems as they were occurring.

  9. Be sure they realize that a marriage can be happy and successful and not all marriages fail just because yours did.

  10. Let them know they will survive the divorce and life will go on. Try to frame the change as a positive experience for everyone involved.

Family Law Attorney

If you are considering divorce, contact the DuPage County divorce attorneys at the Davi Law Group, LLC today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, Kendall and Cook Counties.
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