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Tips on talking to your kids after a divorce

Among the most challenging aspects of a divorce is talking to your kids about the issue. Many Michigan parents struggle with informing their children of the news out of fear that they will be left anxious and unsure about their role in the family. While it can be a tough conversation to have, there are steps you and your ex-spouse can take to mitigate the emotional fallout affecting your children.

According to TodaysParent.com, how you talk to your kids is dependent on how old they are. For instance, with very young children the focus should be on how much the children are still loved by both parents, even though the family dynamic will change. Small children lack the intellectual acuity to comprehend adult matters, so it’s not necessary to go into too much detail. Reassurance should be ample however, from both the custodial and non-custodial parent.

Older kids (ages 6 through 11) will have a better understand of complex matters but tend to take on a lot of the blame. In this case, parents must establish that the kids played no role in the split, framing it instead as an adult problem between mom and dad. For preteens and teens, anger is common, especially with particularly contentious divorces. Accordingly, it’s important to allow older kids to process what’s happening on their own while also being available to answer any questions and offer reassurance.

KidsHealth.org recommends shielding your kids from conflicts and arguments. It’s natural that you and your ex will have disagreements over a number of subjects, from the division of assets to child-rearing disputes. While it’s important that these issues are worked out, avoid involving your kids directly. When conversing with your ex in front of your kids do so in a civilized and respectful manner. If you can’t, try to relegate all conversations to the phone or text/email.

 

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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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