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Preparing Children for Pending Divorce

 

Once parents have made a decision to divorce often there is much concern about preparing their children. Some parents have a good enough relationship that they can prepare the children together. Other parents need to do this individually. It is important that both parents prepare their children for divorce why

Why

Coping with traumatic situations is much worse for most of us when we are unprepared.  Examples include separation and loss. Most of us are uncomfortable with the feelings, however, if we know a loss is pending, coping and grieving skills begin when we are prepared. When the actual event occurs pain is experienced, however, we have had some time to process our feelings and shock is lessened when the event occurs.

When

Most children as young as three are very aware of tensions in the home. Conversations in person or on the phone are overheard easily. In the best circumstances preparing children as soon as parents are clear, they are divorcing is best. When children overhear parts of conversations they begin to create stories in their minds that can be much worse. The sooner the better. This also helps children trust their parents. When parents are up front children feel safer.

Where

The best place to prepare your children for a pending divorce is to find a park or restaurant or another quiet place that your family has not been before. Usually, places take on the feeling when people experience bad news. Also, the place should be a place that you do not intend to visit again.

How

Your child’s developmental level is important. Discuss that both Mom and Dad love your child and neither would leave him or her. You can also discuss that mom and dad also care for one another but it is too hard to live together because of too many disagreements. If your child asked questions to answer them as truthfully as you can, given their developmental level. Books for children about divorce can also be helpful. See below for some books that may be helpful


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