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Helping children understand divorce

Divorce can be a messy issue for a variety of reasons, and one of the most common are the children. It is such a strong concern in fact that many couples will stay together solely for the sake of their children, which can cause a different host of problems.

This is why, especially cases where you know a divorce is the best decision, you should prioritize helping children better understand the divorce rather than hiding it or pretending that nothing is wrong. We have thus compiled a few ways to help make everything a little easier.

Talk about the divorce at your children's level

Being there for your children and making sure that they do not feel alone in this process is paramount to a smooth divorce. There are a number of good resources that you can refer to in order to better educate them to hopefully make them feel better, like children's books such as:

"Was It the Chocolate Pudding?" by Sandra Levins, which touches upon feelings of personal guilt that children tend to internalize. The book helps to teach children to not blame themselves and to hopefully take the pressure off. It does this well by explaining divorce-related words, ensuring that children are more able to understand what is being conveyed.

"Fred Stays with Me," by Nancy Coffelt, which is about a girl coping with her parents' divorce alongside her dog Fred. This book offers children the tools they need to cope with the whole process and learn how they can make the best of it. 

          Maintain healthy attitudes, lifestyles, and relationships

          Many parents find long-term success with children in this area by making sure that the divorce is as drama-free, convenient, and all-around civil as it can be. This can be difficult for partners divorcing over extremely serious issues, but in many cases, it can be worthwhile to (if possible) forgive one another for the sake of the children for the very least.

          By having a positive interaction between the two of you, you are thus able to make the experience as positive as possible for the children as well. Children pick up on your behaviors and forms of expression and will often try to emulate them, so if you have to choose between being friendly with your ex-spouse or being angry, you would logically always choose the former if at all possible.

          You should also work to avoid uprooting your children as much as possible - try to keep them in the same school, among the same friends, and in the same house if this is a realistic option. This helps them avoid having to deal with a lot of anxiety and stave off depression.

          Of course, taking care of your children is only part of the equation; self-care is also paramount. If you do not take care of yourself both emotionally and physically, it becomes that much more difficult to provide the care and attention your children need during the divorce.

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