Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C. Attorneys at Law

How to help children deal with their parents' divorce, Part 1

Everyone needs help with something now and then. Adults who are getting divorced need support from friends, and in Pittsburgh they need assistance from an experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney. But when parents get divorced, it is the children who need the most help of all, and they need it most from their parents. Children do not have the same experience dealing with adversity that adults do, and particularly with young children, they literally do not know how to react. It is well known that without guidance to the contrary, young children will blame themselves for their parents' divorce.

But children of divorce are not doomed. Kids can make it through their parents' divorce and even thrive. For them to have the best chance of avoiding the emotional damage of divorce, though, they need parents who put the children first in their lives.

The most important thing that parents can do to help their children survive divorce is to avoid all parental conflict. In a best-case scenario, the parents would never fight. If that cannot be achieved, then at the very least no fighting should ever take place in front of the children.

Another priority is continuity. Maintaining daily routines from life before the divorce will help kids adjust to the new situation. If it is possible for the children to continue to live in the family home, that will help them adjust. In many cases keeping the house is just not financially feasible. But wherever possible, continuity should be a priority. If kids can remain in the same schools, that will help them. To the extent pre-divorce household rules and activities can be maintained after the divorce, it will help kids adapt to the changes that cannot be avoided.

In the next post, we will look at the "Five Cs" that divorcing parents can use to help them remember some suggestions on ways to help their children.

Source: WSJ "The Child-Focused Divorce" Sept. 6, 2011

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