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How to talk to children about divorce

Parents in Illinois who have made the decision to divorce have a number of decisions to make regarding property division, custody and support payments. However, one of the most difficult aspects of the process may be breaking the news to children. Handling the situation correctly can help children cope with the news and adjust to the new family dynamic.

According to Psychology Today, a study that evaluated how to tell children about divorce gives some insight into the importance of the parent-child conversation. For example, children will remember the conversation and any emotions they associated with the event for a long time to come. With that in mind, experts offer the following advice: 

  •        Allow children to have any feelings they have regarding the divorce.
  •        Do not complain about each other to the children.
  •        Tell the children as a family instead of separately.
  •        Answer questions honestly.

The Mayo Clinic advises that parents should not discuss issues such as child support in front of the kids. Further, children should never be used to get information about the other parent.

It is important to consider that counseling could help everyone involved in the divorce. Parents may benefit from the ability to vent frustrations and sadness. Similarly, children may also have strong emotions about the separation. Some children’s emotions manifest in behavioral issues or depression. Speaking to a counselor could help to mitigate the risks associated with both.

It can be difficult to prioritize the needs of a child when there are so many moveable parts to a divorce, but it is an important thing to do. The more focus that can be placed on the child, the more likely he or she will be to handle the changing situation.

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