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New HBO documentary shows children's point of view on divorce

Few divorces are unemotional. As couples split, hard feelings are quite normal. What often is forgotten during a divorce, however, is how it can affect the children in the marriage and how they feel about it. Texas residents may be interested in a new documentary from HBO that looks at the issue of divorce from the child's point of view to give divorcing parents some idea of how deeply the process can affect the most vulnerable members of the family.

The documentary is called, "Don't Divorce Me! Kids' Rules for Parents on Divorce." It only lasts a half-hour, but supplies a solid look at the way children view their parents' divorce. Their view is often overlooked during the divorce, with child psychologists pointing out that parents have difficulties paying attention to the feelings of their children while fighting with one another over child custody and support issues, among others. According to one psychology professor, the details of a divorce often overwhelm a parent. To this end, she co-founded a company that provides an online service that help parents exchange information regarding co-parenting, including keeping track of support payments and other child-related expenses as well as visitation schedules, all without contact that may cause strife between parents.

The documentary features over two dozen children who provide their opinions and advice on various aspects of divorce, from shared custody transfers to communications to gifts. The information it contains is useful for parents wanting to know what children really think about a divorce, and how they can help them avoid undue pain during the separation and divorce process. Part of the advice from one child not involved in the documentary includes not informing the child of all aspects of the divorce right away. Provide a timeframe your child can handle for disclosing more and more details so he or she can adjust to the concepts and what it means to their life.

Most children come through a divorce without being overly damaged, but 10 to 20 percent require counseling to cope with their emotions during and after the event, according to one child psychologist. For Texas parents considering a divorce, careful attention should be paid to the children's feelings and they are coping with the changes in their lives. Watching for trouble signs can help a parent identify problems early enough to help the child cope better and provide a smoother transition to a post-divorced existence.

Source: WBIR, "When parents divorce, how NOT to treat the kids," Sharon Jayson, Sept. 21, 2012

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