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Protect your child's psychological health during your divorce

When you are going through a divorce, your children need to know that life with both parents is going to continue even if you and your ex live in two homes. Take steps to help protect their psychological health throughout the process. This isn't always easy because it is sometimes hard to understand what they are thinking and what they need.

One thing that might help your children is to know that they aren't alone. Around 60% of children in this country live with their biological parents who are married. That means that 40% of children don't. Knowing that others have gone through the same thing can help your children to feel better about what they are going through.

Young children

Younger children will often wonder about how they are going to live in two homes. They may be fearful that things aren't going to work and that their parents might stop loving them the way they stopped loving each other. Parenting plans at this age will need to address the fact that the child may have difficulties going back and forth. Both parents will have to shower the kids with love and reassure their children that they are not going to be abandoned.

Grade schoolers

Children in grade school may focus on self-blame and still believe they played a part in the divorce. They may not understand why they have to deal with the consequences of the decisions their parents made. Reassure the kids that this is an adult decision based solely on things that happened in the marriage.

Teenagers

Teenagers are going to have a wide range of emotions. They might be angry that their parents didn't stay together until they were out of the house. Some teens place all the blame on one parent and try to shun that parent. It can be challenging to work through this with the teens, but as time passes, they may see that this was in their best interests.

No matter how old your children are, you should have a solid parenting plan if they are minors who still reside at home. This can help to ensure that they have the consistency they need while they are growing up. Have rules, rewards and consequences that span both homes. Be willing to talk to the children and encourage positive relationships all around.

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