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How to help your children cope with the challenges of divorce

Going through the divorce process has the potential to bury you in stress, tension and uncertain feelings about the future. While you're personally dealing with these concerns, it's critical to take into consideration the well-being of your children.

As an adult, you're familiar with the many coping mechanisms you can lean on to help yourself through this difficult time. However, the same can't be said for your children, so you must step in and provide them with the guidance they need.

Here's what you need to do:

  • Encourage them to speak out: The last thing you want is for your children to keep their feelings bottled up inside. Encourage them to discuss their feelings and concerns, while also asking questions.
  • Provide support: It's one thing to hear your children out. It's another thing entirely to offer support, such as by answering their questions, spending more time with them and "talking them down" when they're on an emotional roller coaster.
  • Don't argue in front of them: It goes without saying that you and your spouse aren't on the same page about your marriage. That's why you're going through the divorce process. So, it's likely that you'll have plenty of opportunities to argue. Don't do so in front of your children, as it will only increase tensions.
  • Get outside help: There may come a point when you're unable to provide the necessary support. It's okay to seek outside help, such as by taking your children to a therapist. You can also contact their school counselor to provide information on what's happening.

Along with the above, make sure you care for yourself during this difficult time. If you focus so much energy on everyone else, your mind and body will begin to suffer, which will make it difficult to do what's best by your children.

Some children have an easier time with divorce than others, but you shouldn't assume that the best will happen. From the day you tell your children about your divorce until the day they stop asking about it, you should provide guidance and feedback.

When your children are in a better spot, you'll find it easier to focus on the divorce process, your legal rights and building a better life for yourself in the future.

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