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What parents can do to help their kids during a divorce - II

Last time, our blog discussed how current figures reflect the somewhat startling reality that as many half of children here in the U.S. could see their parent's marriages end in divorce.

We also discussed how divorce frequently proves very difficult for children regardless of their age, causing emotional and social problems and behavioral and even health issues.

While this may not paint the brightest picture, we did examine how there were some relatively simple steps that parents could take to make life easier on their children post-divorce. In today's post, we'll continue to look at some of these steps. 

Concentrate on being the best possible listener

It's understandable that children will have a lot on their minds in the days, weeks, months and even years following a divorce. However, if they finally decide to share their feelings about the split, experts advise parents to resist the urge to defend, persuade or even problem solve, and instead just focus on listening and asking questions.

Allowing a child to just share their feelings and arrive at their own conclusions concerning the divorce, say experts, provides them with a much-needed sense of control in a situation that has heretofore made them feel helpless.

Disconnect and be present in the moment

While there is no question that a divorce will introduce significant changes in the day-to-day lives of children, it's important to understand that parents are also not immune to these significant changes. Indeed, divorced parents will devote a considerable amount of time focusing on the managing the finances and logistics of their new lives, while also coping with their emotions.

While this is certainly understandable, experts warn parents to remember to put all this aside while spending time with their children, making sure to focus on their needs and maximizing their time together.   

"I had to remind myself, when it's my time with the kids, I will be present, tuned in and all the things floating in my head will be set aside to deal with later," said one social worker of her post-divorce experience. "It's not easy when you're going through big life changes."

Don't forget the importance of reassurance

Children are likely feeling very uncertain in the immediate aftermath of a divorce, wondering what went wrong and what the future holds. In these difficult times, experts encourage parents to constantly reassure their children that they love them and tell that that while things will be different, you aren't going anywhere and will be at every soccer game, parent-teacher conference or other important event.

Remember, speaking with an experienced legal professional about important divorce or divorce-related issues like child custody can go a long way toward providing much-needed reassurance during otherwise difficult times.

Source: The Desert News, "Preventing broken marriages from breaking kids," Lois Collins, April 2, 2014

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