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4 ways to help your children adjust to divorce

Every parent wants his or her child to succeed, and going through a turbulent time doesn't always help a child's self-esteem. As a parent who wants what's best for your little one, it's important to consider how a divorce affects your child. Fortunately, there are ways to include your child and to minimize the child's normal daily activities. Here are four ways you can help your child adjust to divorce.

1. Keep up commitments

The first thing you can do to help is to keep up with your commitments. Did you promise your child she could try out for the cheerleading team? Did you tell your son you'd take him on a trip to an amusement park? Times are stressful during a divorce, but keeping up with commitments helps your child feel that there is still some control and routine.

2. Break the news together

You and your spouse should consider breaking the news of the divorce to your child together. Your child wants to know that while you two may separate, you still care about him or her. Approaching together to talk about the divorce in a civilized manner helps you get the point across.

Keep the conversation at an age-appropriate level. If your child is very young, consider talking about how sometimes adults no longer want to live together. If your child is a teen, talk about how the divorce could benefit your relationships.

You don't need to talk about why you're seeking a divorce or explain yourself to your child. Just give him or her enough information to prepare for the future changes as they approach. Answer questions truthfully, but try not to be negative.

3. Don't talk down about the other parent

You might feel that you want to say something negative about your spouse, but save it for friends and family. Your child wants to have a good relationship with you and your spouse, so reject the temptation to say bad things about his or her other parent.

4. Maintain connections

One thing many children worry about is never seeing an aunt, uncle or grandparent again due to the divorce. As long as those are healthy relationships, aim to keep those people in your child's life. It's important for your child to have a support system during this difficult time, just as it's important that you have one.

These are just a few tips for helping your child adjust during a divorce. With patience and understanding, you can get through this time and help your child understand the changes that occur.

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