Justin Raber Attorney at Law

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3 tips for relieving a child's stress over divorce

For children, a divorce may seem like the end of life as they know it. How can they go on? What will change? Is it their fault?

As a parent, it's your responsibility to help your child handle the divorce. This is primarily a decision between you and your spouse, but your child is affected and should know what to expect from an age-appropriate conversation. Here are a few tips for helping your child adjust.

1. Talk about fault

In many cases, there is no real reason that the marriage ends other than a breakdown of the relationship over time. Whether those issues are trust-related, a lack of time for one another or simply growing apart doesn't matter. You need to talk to your child about the divorce in a way that does not place fault on him or her. It's a very good idea to simply come out and say that the divorce is not his or her fault and that you and his or her father or mother want to live separately.

2. Keep arguments out of the home

One thing that does make divorce more stressful is if you and your spouse argue openly. You should not argue in front of your child. This causes anxiety, depression and fear. It may also make your child feel that he or she has to take sides or that he or she can't talk to you or his or her father or mother for fear of another argument erupting.

Arguments happen, but try to stay civil. Wait until your child is at school, or better yet, go somewhere else to talk out your problems and try to avoid arguing completely.

3. Give your child time to grieve

The end of a relationship is hard for you, but it's also life-changing for your children. You need to allow them time to grieve what's happening. Listen to what your children say and help them express what they want to say. If your children are honest, don't punish them. It's normal for kids to fear hurting you by saying what they want to say. They need to be honest to move forward through the process of grieving.

Let your child know it's not his or her fault, and acknowledge how he or she feels about the impending divorce. You might not be able to address every concern right away, but knowing that you understand what your child needs can help reduce stress immensely.

Your attorney can help you work through your divorce so it has a minimal impact on your child. With the support you need, you can get through this difficult time in your life.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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