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You told your kids you're getting divorced: How to help them cope

Every Pennsylvania family is unique, and the joys and problems you experience in your own household may be similar or vastly different from your neighbor's past or current situations. That's why there's no set answer to questions regarding how you can help your kids navigate the divorce process without any negative impact at all. Like most good parents, you likely already realize that your divorce will, in fact, have some not-so-good effects on your kids.

That doesn't necessarily mean it will ruin the rest of their lives, however. By being proactive and supportive, you can help them come to terms with the situation and set the tone for a new and successful future. There are things you can do, and other things you'll definitely want to avoid, as you try to keep stress levels as low as possible while your children adapt to their new lifestyle. The good news is that there are plenty of support resources available.

Basic facts regarding children and divorce

As mentioned earlier, your children are unique; in fact, each of them might react to the news of your divorce in his or her own way. The following list provides useful information that typically applies to most children whose parents divorce:

  • Many have negative reactions when their parents tell them they're getting divorced.
  • Some get angry, others sad, and some become extremely introverted for a time. Children may also become quite rebellious during or following their parents' divorce.
  • Children need parents to acknowledge their feelings and allow them to share their emotions without worrying about upsetting the adults involved.
  • Most children fare best when provided ample opportunity to spend time with both parents after divorce.
  • Most children are highly adaptable and resilient, and will rebound from divorce in a healthy manner if their relationships with their parents remain active and ability to trust the adults in their lives intact.
  • Children who witness the end of their parents' friendship with each other often fear that their own relationship with their parents may be at risk.

Your kids will likely have good days and some bad as you move on together in life after the court finalizes your divorce. If they witness you and your former spouse doing your best to cooperate and compromise for their sakes, they may have less stress and more ability to adjust to the changes in their lives.

Addressing problematic issues

If a particular post-divorce problem arises that impedes your relationship with your kids, places them at risk or is in defiance of an existing court order, you can take immediate action to rectify the situation. In short, with a strong support system, you and your kids can overcome divorce-related challenges and focus on building a new, bright future together.

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