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Minimizing the effects of divorce on children

Divorce is typically hard on everyone involved, and with about half of all American children now dealing with the divorce of their parents, it is becoming unreasoningly critical to understand the effects it can have on your own.

When you go through a divorce, you must learn how to shift your role from that of a spouse and parent to that of only a parent, and many parents take missteps in doing so, even if they have only the best intentions. To make things easier on your children as you navigate through your divorce, consider taking the following steps.

Do not speak ill of your child’s other parent

Often, married couples split because of bad blood or mistrust between them, but it is critical that you refrain from speaking negatively about your child’s other parent in the presence of your child. Doing so places your child in an unfortunate and uncomfortable position where he or she must essentially choose one parent over the other, and this can lead to guilt and additional emotional struggles.

Do not seek to mend fences through overspending

If you are like many parents going through a divorce, you may find it tempting to overspend and spoil your child to minimize the impact of the separation. This is more common among noncustodial parents, but it is almost always a bad idea. What your children need most at this difficult time is just that – your time, so prioritizing time together over money spent can benefit both child and parent.

Maintain open lines of communication with the other parent  

If the situation between you and your child’s other parent is especially acrimonious, it may lead you to avoid one another. Doing so can prove detrimental to your child, however, and depending on your child’s age, it may also make it easier for your son or daughter to break the rules or act out. Maintaining open lines of communication shows your child that his or her parents maintain a united front even amid divorce, but be sure to communicate directly with one another and not by sending messages through your child.

Divorce is tough on everyone, but taking these steps may soften the blow and minimize any ill effects it may have on your child.  

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