How to Help Your Children Weather a Divorce

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When families are broken by divorce, parents not only need to work through their own feelings of hopelessness, grief, depression, anxiety, and bitterness, they are the face that their children see as they try and sort through the changes happening to them. Depending on the child’s age, maturity, and exposure to divorce in their social group, they probably have some ideas, healthy, unhealthy, or both about divorce.

It’s not their fault

“The assurance that divorce is not a child’s fault is pretty-much universally understood and is often one of the first things that parents say when they explain that they are divorcing to their children. It is also misunderstood the most frequently and needs to be part of the common thread of further discussions,” reports a leading Provo divorce attorney at Larsen Law Firm.

Especially at the end of the marriage, tempers flare and anything can set off a fight. If your children have done anything prior to the explosion, they don’t always attach the proper cause to the resultant effect. Developmentally, children are ego-centric and believe, to varying degrees as they mature, that they are the center of the universe and that everything relates to them or are caused by their behavior. This is troublesome in its presentation as parents divorce.

The foundation is laid from the beginning

The first 24 months following a separation and divorce are critical to how well the family adjusts long-term. This puts an added strain on parents, who are already going through the second-most stressful life event, only falling behind the death of a spouse. During these painful first months, it is important to practice self-care, especially seeking counseling, seeing a doctor regularly to maintain your physical health, and surrounding yourself with supportive friendships. This is no different for your children. They need these things as well.

Consider a divorce education class for children

“We recommend, wherever appropriate, that our clients send their children to one of Utah’s free divorce education classes,” advises another leading divorce lawyer from Provo. 

These classes allow children to explore their feelings with those who are in similar situations, without mom or dad close by, so they don’t filter their feelings. These sessions occur monthly and are designed for children between the ages of 9 and 12.

Classes are available in Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake City, West Jordan and Provo.

For more information about these classes, please visit: https://www.utcourts.gov/specproj/dived/children.html

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