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5 Ways to Protect Your Children When Going Through a Divorce

March 2, 2016
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Children often get the short end of the stick when it comes to custody battles. They’re vulnerable and aren’t always capable of understanding the big picture. Only 11% of custody cases are determined during mediation with family lawyers present, which is generally a calmer, more civilized environment, but with 26.1% of parents having to seek government assistance to collect child support because of only 43.4% actually receive the money due them, these proceedings can sometimes be a little hostile. The parents understand why they’re getting divorced, but the children can often misunderstand and be terrified by the unknown future.

childIf your child is having a hard time with your separation or divorce, here are some things you can do to try to help your children with their fears.

1. Assurance 
Your kids needs to know that the divorce is not their fault. Feeling safe and protected is extremely important during this time of unfamiliarity. In shores that your kids know that they will continue to be happy and comfortable no matter what the grown ups are going through.

2. Emotional stability 
The divorce might be a very difficult time for you but appearing to be emotionally in control when the children are around will help them. Breaking down in front of the kids is never a good idea, and will put them in a very difficult position. Children cling on to the emotions of the adult, so if they think that you’re OK, it will show them that they are OK as well

One of the biggest temptations when going through a custody battle is trying to get your children to take your side. However, this will only further hurt the child and potentially destroy the relationship with the other parent. If the other parent is telling the child the same things, it can cause conflict and confusion in the child’s mind, and they will not be able to determine the truth or what it is that they want.

3. Counseling 
Find a kind and understanding family counselor that you and your children trust. Family counselors are trained in being able to minimize the impact that divorce can have on children. Talking to an unbiased third party can help the children to express their thoughts without fear of hurting one parent or the other. A child should never be put in the place of comforting their parent, but because they love them, they may feel the need to express things they think the parent will want to hear. A counselor can eliminate any barriers.

4. Agreement
Right from the beginning, you and your spouse must reach an agreement not to include the children or manipulate them in any way. If the children are older, you must also understand that they may try to play the two of you against each other in order to get their way. Even if the parents have irreconcilable differences between themselves, there’s no reason why they cannot have each other’s back’s when it comes to parenting.

It is very common for parents to feel guilty about what the children are going through and to allow themselves to be walked all over. As the parent, you must remember that you were doing what is best for your child and for the family. You still need to be the one to make the decisions.

5. Reassurance
Most importantly, your child needs to be constantly reassured of both parents’ love and care for them regardless of the current circumstances. They must know that they are the priority and you will never make a decision outside of their best interest. Make sure that they understand that both parents love for the kids will never be diminished.

There maybe other thoughts depending on the children, the parents, and the nature of the legal circumstances, but the ones listed here are some general ideas to help your kids get through this difficult and confusing time.

Ken Phillips
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