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Understand how divorce impacts kids so you can help them

The end of a marriage is a difficult time for the adults involved, but this can turn even more challenging when there are children in the picture. Parents must take the time to help their kids through the changes that are coming.

Many factors impact how a child will perceive a divorce. The child's age and maturity level, as well as the events leading up to the split can matter. In order to help your children, you have to find out what's going on with them.

Self blame

Some children might think that they caused the divorce. This isn't ever the case. Kids who are 2 to 7 years old are more likely to think this way because they still have the mindset of being the center of their own world. When you know that children may be like this, you need to help them understand that the divorce is due to the adults involved and not a reflection of the kids.

Fantasy life

Children might start to live in a fantasy world in which they believe they are able to mend the broken marriage. Helping them to understand that the divorce is final can be beneficial. Typically, older children are the ones who think like this. While you don't have to get into the deep details of the divorce, give the children information that lets them know the marriage would have been miserable.

Anxiety, fear and sadness

The change that comes with a divorce is hard for children to deal with. Everything they've known is being flipped upside down. This can lead to anxiety, fear and sadness. Talk to your children. Work with them to express their feelings. Some children might find this difficult, but helping them to find an appropriate way to do this can make the situation easier for everyone.

Words matter

No matter how contentious the divorce, don't belittle your ex in front of the children. That person is still the kids' parent and does deserve some respect. Matters related to the divorce, including those about custody, should be handled directly between you, your ex and the attorneys. Never use the children as messengers in these instances.

Coming up with the terms of the child custody agreement can be challenging. Once this is finished, you can work on providing your children with stability that comes with knowing how situations will be handled when they come up.

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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