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Helping Kids with Divorce

Helping Kids with Divorce

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Published by CareyH231
Divorce Help
Divorce Help

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Published by: CareyH231 on Jan 29, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 ==== ====Divorce helpdivorce.shared4u2.com ==== ====Most psychologists agree that divorce per se does not necessarily cause psychological problemsin children. Certainly, there are many situations wheredivorce is necessary; but the fact is, there is no agreement among the experts onhow bad a situation must be for a child to benefit from divorce. Understandably,the biggest worry and the greatest heartache for divorcing parents is how thedivorce will affect the kids. Here are some considerations for divorcing parentsfor children in various stages of development: Babies and Toddlers: For babies, the impact of divorce is indirect. Divorce for a baby can be felt intwo extremes. When they are neglected because of the emotional turmoil ofthe divorce on their parents; and when they are smothered because of theneediness of the parent (usually the mother) during the divorce process. Avoid the extremes. In the Toddler (18 months - 2 years), fears of separation can intensify andthe child may have anxiety around the many changes that are occurring in his/her life.Boys, especially, do not do as well because they are beginning to identify with the fatherwho is often the one who leaves (in approximately 90 percent of divorces). With babies and Toddlers, parents can be mindful of the need for consistency in the child's life.For the custodial parent, it is important not to over or under-parent the child. The impact of divorceis probably the least severe at this stage, but babies and Toddlers do feel the stress of divorce,even if they cannot verbally express it. Preschoolers: For all of the inquisitiveness and curiosity, children of this age can't really differentiate betweenreality and fantasy. Divorce can create much fear and confusion. If at all possible, parents shouldtell their children about the divorce together. Admitto the child that the parents are sorry but they are no longer happy together. Also expressfeeling unhappy about the divorce so the children will feel less isolated in their sadness.Explain the situation to them in concepts they can understand and do not get into legalor other issues that don't concern them The very most important thing parents can do after a divorce is continue to be parents totheir children. Children will take the lead from parents who are consistent, kind, andcalming. Although the pain of divorce is felt most strongly at this Preschooler Stage, therecovery time is also short. It is essential that the parents establish continuity by recreating their
own distinct households as soon as possible. Six to Eight: Freud called this stage the "Latency". Anger, fear, betrayal, and a sense of deprivationare characteristic responses to divorce of children this age. But above all, these childrenfeel sad. Easing the pain of divorce for these children is very difficult. But there aresome commonsense strategies to help. Some experts suggest that children in this age group betold 2 or 3 weeks before the expected separation. But this may not be realisticgiven how divorce occurs. Since this is a particularly difficult stage (Latency), childrenreally do not want the divorce under any circumstances, so do not spend a lot of timetrying to make the children feel better. Just reassure them that they will be loved andcared for by both parents and move quickly toward setting up separate, consistent, households. Nine to Twelve: This stage is "Late Latency" and carries both good and bad news. The good news is thatthe child has the maturity to understand better and they have developed a world outsidethe family with friends and activities they care about. They are likely to see the divorceas their parents problem and not theirs. The bad news is that children is this stage are just developing their morality and see things in black and white. They may react with righteousanger when confronted with behavior in their parents that they perceive is hypocritical. Kids of thisage don't take the divorce laying down, they will be angry and will let you know it. Most of this extreme reaction will be gone within a year. But it is important for parentsto address certain issues so that they do not hang on and create problems for the childlater in life. Defusing the anger the child has toward the parent he/she holds responsiblefor the divorce is extremely important. While it is important to be honest, trashingthe other parent or engaging the child as an ally against the other parent is wrong.It may not only prevent the child from moving on, it may backfire on the parent who haspoisoned his mind against the other parent. On a practical note, do what you can to get your preteen child involved in activitieswith peers. This will help with self-esteem and will give the child positive input whenthey are feeling angry and upset. Teenagers: Guiding teenagers through the upheaval of divorce is not as difficult as it is foryounger children. If the child is fairly stable up to this point, he/she will be upsetbut not seriously disturbed by a divorce. Again, it is important to be honest. Now theteenager is able to understand the "grey areas" of human experience. But, even thoughteenagers can seem mature, they still need to have positive feelings toward each parent.Again, do not focus your energy on vindictive attacks on your ex. If nothing else, itmakes you seem immature to your teenager, and can come back to bite you later. We do know that the most important factor in facilitating a good transition for childrenof divorce no matter what the age is the ability of the divorcing parents to get along.

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