Dealing with tough questions: kids and divorce

Though you and your spouse have already decided to divorce, translating your reasoning and personal decision to your children can be difficult. At any age, it is important to be aware of the way that you handle tough divorce questions, navigate life after divorce, and coach your children can have an impact. Even the most informed and well-intentioned parents can make mistakes or negatively affect a child without knowing it.

A recent HBO documentary titled, Don't Divorce Me! Kids' Rules for Parents on Divorce, children of divorce articulate the challenges of divorce and offer parents tips on how to best navigate the transition. Here are some tips from kids for divorcing and divorced parents in Salt Lake City, Utah:

  • "Don't make me choose."
  • "Make traveling from house to house easy."
  • "Spend a lot of time with kids and make sure they know it's not their fault."
  • "Don't put me in the middle."
  • "Don't take your anger out on me."
  • "Tell me it's not my fault."
  • "Don't give too much information at once. It can be difficult to understand. Kids need time."

While most parents know that children have a difficult time with divorce, they may not know the best way to approach tough questions, deal with a split household, or address the emotional needs of their children. Children usually have a clear idea about how divorce impacts them personally and emotionally. It is important to listen to children and to talk to them about the issues that they are facing at home or at school. Remember that while you are having a tough time, your children are also working to adjust to the transition. Take the time to listen to while you also work to protect your rights and the best interests of the family.

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