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How to help children through a divorce

No matter how well estranged New Jersey parents handle their divorce, their children involved may feel shocked, hurt, angry and betrayed. They may have many questions and worries, but experts say parents can do a lot to ease their transition by reassuring them of a few important things.

Right off the bat, the children should be assured that the divorce is not their fault. They may be thinking that their parents are splitting up because they did something wrong. Parents should tell their children that the separation has nothing to do with them. Children also need to hear that they are loved and the divorce will never change that. They may be feeling misplaced guilt and separation anxiety as new living arrangements are made, and they need to hear they are unconditionally loved as often as possible.

As hard as it may be, a divorced parent should never badmouth the other one in front of the children. Parents should also refrain from asking their kids for information about the other parent, which essentially makes them spies. Experts say that pitting children against the other parent or placing them in the middle of contentious communications can lead to many psychological problems in the future. Finally, parents should do all they can to co-parent together. It can be difficult to set negative feelings aside and work as a team, but it gives children the structure they need to move forward.

The end of a marriage can be a difficult time for the entire family. A parent who is facing this type of situation may want to have the assistance of a family law attorney in structuring a custody and visitation arrangement that will focus on the child's best interests.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Children and Divorce: What I Wished My Divorcing Parents Had Known," Hanif Virani, Jan. 25, 2016

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