Helping Children Deal With Divorce

Parents need to be aware of what their children may be feeling when going through divorce.

Children are frightened by divorce no matter what age. This means changes in their stability. In America one out of two marriages ends in divorce. These numbers are alarming and the children seem to suffer the most long-term. Parents can become so preoccupied by their own on going problems. Some parents even turn to their own children for advice and comfort, which can result in more confusion for the child.

Children tend to feel guilty as if they caused the divorce.

They feel as if they would have done something differently then the conflicts would have never begun. Parents should pay special attention during this time and be open for constructive communication and let the child know that no matter what they still have two parents who love them dearly. Parents need to be ready to deal with alerts and behaviors that can arise from the changes. Such things as depression, bursts of outrage, seclusion, low self-esteem and even problems at school can arise during this time.

Children can benefit tremendously if the parents can work together to resolve conflicts that may come up. When the children become involved they can feel trapped and torn in the middle. They may resort to manipulation, trying to please both parents to whatever extreme. This sometimes can cause more harm in the family structure. Parents should take special precaution as to not make the child feel as if they have to choose sides. Long custody disputes can cause the parents to become so wrapped up in their own anger that they fail to realize the feelings of the child.

The parent's focus should be more importantly then their own, on their child and their well-being. If you see signs of distress in your child, you should contact your pediatrician. It is also recommended for parents to seek help. Parents can benefit from learning how to not only help their child but also themselves during this period of time.

Children of divorced parents, especially a messy divorce, have a hard time in future relationships and social settings. They can themselves become emotionally unstable and unable to deal correctly with difficulties in life. They need sound role models to be able to see how to deal with crisis in their life. If parents show their children the proper way to deal with pain and grief then as they get older they too will be able to handle these situations in a healthy way.

Divorce is never easy on anyone. Adults initiate it and the children feel they have no control. If you guide your child and are age appropriate in your honesty with them, they will be able to soon except the fact that their family unit has changed. Psychologists suggest that the explanations need to come from both parents as if working together as a united front. This way you are demonstrating to your child that although you may not have been able to make the marriage work, you are still the parents and still know that your responsibilities are to your children. Doctors also suggest not questioning your child after each visit with the other parent. Then if a conflict does arise, your child does not feel as if they fueled the flame.

When all else fails you should let your child try to find an adult that they feel comfortable with so that they can talk. Sometimes having a neutral party, someone not directly involved, can ease some of their pain and frustrations.

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