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Helping children adjust well to divorce

As you consider divorce, you know that it's the right option for you and your spouse, but you worry about the impact on the children. This relationship isn't just about the two of you as a couple anymore. You don't want to do something that harms your children.

This is a common and valid concern. The good news is that experts generally find that children whose parents get divorced can adjust very well over time. The key is for the parents to really focus on parenting itself. The actions you take after divorce are crucial. You should:

  • Offer children emotional support when they need it
  • Provide a warm and welcoming home life
  • Monitor the children's activities to address any potential issues like declining grades
  • Still provide discipline and structure
  • Seek to create a stable life for the children that is as close as possible to what they enjoyed before the divorce
  • Consider others who may have an impact on their lives, e.g., their teachers

One thing you can do is simply to understand that the transition can be the hardest part. Kids often bounce back, but that initial year after the divorce is difficult. Ask them how they're feeling and what you can do. Commit to staying involved in their lives -- both you and your ex. Show them that you're there for them, you love them and that will never change. In time, they will understand that you and your ex breaking up does not change the relationship either one of you has with them or how much you care about them.

At the same time, make sure you are well aware of all of the legal rights you have and the steps you can take to put your children first.

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