Trying to help your kids come to terms with your divorce?

Divorce is typically a turning point in people's lives. If you are like most Virginia parents who have recently severed their marital ties, you've likely been worried about your children's ability to cope. How well they adapt to their new lifestyle depends on many factors, one of which might be the co-parent relationship you have with your ex. Is it as amicable as one would expect or contentious?

Your children's perception of your interaction with your ex may be a factor toward their ability to cope with your divorce. It's definitely not the only issue that counts. They may experience ups and downs just as you might. You'll all be searching for your "new normal." There are several things you can do to help your children make the best of their situation. Knowing where to seek support to help resolve problem issues is a step in the right direction.

Your kids might have questions

It's critical that your children understand they did not cause your divorce. Many Virginia parents make the mistake of assuming their kids know this; however, children often internalize their parents' problems, believing it's all their fault. If your son or daughter asks why you're getting divorced, it's good to be as forthright as possible without giving more detail than he or she is mature enough to handle.

Kids often have additional questions regarding where they'll live and how their daily life will change after you and your spouse finalize your divorce. It's always best to address one question at a time and to provide answers in a very basic, simplistic form so as not to burden your children with adult issues.

Life goes on

You can help your children move forward in life by letting them know it's okay to feel happy and to continue doing things they enjoy, such as sleeping over at a friend's house, playing sports or participating in school events. It's also okay to feel sad, angry or worried; letting your children know they can share their feelings with you and that you are there to support them gives them much-needed coping skills.

Reach out for support as needed

If your kids witness you seeking support from trusted friends, extended family members or others, they are more likely to ask for help when they need it, as well. Many parents join support groups with their kids so they have an opportunity to listen to and share with others who can relate to their situations.

Legal problems can definitely increase the amount of stress your children feel when you divorce. If you and your ex are in a custody battle, for instance, your kids may feel caught between the two of you. The sooner you can resolve legal disagreements, the better, which is why most parents seek guidance and support from experienced family law attorneys when they can't solve their problems on their own.

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