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Answering Your Children's Questions About DivorceYour children will have many questions about your divorce, some of which may be difficult for you to answer. Some questions have obvious answers, such as “Do you still love me?” and “Is the divorce my fault?” There are other questions that you may not have immediate answers to, such as “Who will I be living with?” You can assure your children whatever parenting time decision you make will be in their best interest. The trickiest question is the big one: “Why did you get divorced?”

Preparing for the Question

You know that your children will ask about the reason you got divorced. Unfortunately, you do not know when or where they will ask the question. Your initial reaction could have a major effect on how future conversations on the subject will go. You should decide how honest you want to be with each child. No child wants to hear salacious details about your marriage, but children who are at or near adulthood may be able to handle more of the truth. The main points of your answer should be that:

  • They were in no way responsible for your decision to divorce;
  • It was a difficult decision to make, especially because of how it would affect them;
  • Parents may stop getting along for reasons that are no one’s fault;
  • Parents are best off getting a divorce when their marriage becomes unhealthy for them; and
  • Nothing about the divorce will ever change the fact that you love your children.

Detailed Questions

Your children may eventually ask you specific questions about the reason for your divorce that they were afraid to ask when they were younger. A question may be uncomfortable for you if it is about something you or your spouse did wrong, such as having an affair. Rather than deny what happened, you should be honest about your faults that may have contributed to your divorce and use it as a teaching moment:

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Repairing Your Relationship With Your Children After DivorceObtaining a fair share of parenting time is one part of being a good post-divorce parent. You also must use your parenting time to develop a positive relationship with your children. In your children’s eyes, you are not the same parent as you were before your divorce. Your children may also seem like different people if their moods and behavior have changed because of the divorce. They are likely still feeling pain and betrayal but are also looking to you for comfort and guidance. The onus is on you to create a new and healthy relationship with your children as a single parent.

Communication

Understanding your children’s feelings and needs starts with talking to them. Their time with you should include opportunities to discuss what is going on in their lives and how they are feeling. Ask them to share both the good and the bad so you are a more complete part of their lives. When they are with their other parent, encourage them to remain in contact with you, via:

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Posted on in Divorce

"TellingWhile parents often consider the needs of their children during divorce, adult children of divorce are more likely to be overlooked. Parents will not include adult offspring in their divorce settlement unless the adult is still a legal dependent. Parents may also consider adult children more emotionally resilient and in less need of comforting. However, adult children can still feel devastated by their parents’ divorce and emotionally vulnerable. Their parents should reassure them and protect them from the ugly parts of the divorce.

Traumatic Experience

Parents may mistakenly believe that their divorce will not upset their adult children because the children are living on their own and starting their own lives. The divorce can be a shock to the adult children because they may:

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Shielding Your Children from Divorce-Related DramaThere are some details in your marriage and divorce that your children do not need to know. Children already have a hard time adjusting to their broken family after a divorce. Telling them about their other parent’s faults that led to the divorce will hurt them more. Your most important job as a parent after your divorce to protect your children. That means shielding them from the infighting that often accompanies a divorce.

Too Much Information

Dragging your children into your divorce-related drama is unfair to them. Despite what you may think of your former spouse, your children likely look up to him or her as a parent. Children see their parents as infallible role models, even though no parent is perfect. By exposing your children to your grievances from the divorce, you are:

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Posted on in Divorce

Dating as a Single Parent After DivorceIt is unwise to quickly jump back into dating after you have completed your divorce. You need time to heal from your marriage, including:

  • Coming to terms with why you divorced;
  • Adjusting to your post-marriage lifestyle; and
  • Feeling emotionally ready to start a new relationship.

Even after you feel ready, there may be others who need time to recover from the divorce. Children can be upset when they see one of their parents dating someone new. You must be conscious of your children’s reaction when starting a new relationship after divorce.

Understanding Children’s Emotions

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Do Not Underestimate the Impact of Divorce on Your ChildrenDivorced spouses may feel relieved to have ended their contentious marriage. The hostility between them made their lives miserable. If the former spouses are parents, they may believe that the divorce will benefit the children, as well. After all, children feel stressed and unhappy when living with parent who are often fighting. However, children are unlikely to view the divorce in that way. The positives that come from not witnessing their parents' hostile relationship are outweighed by feelings of loss and betrayal. Parents must understand how their divorce will affect their children.

Through a Child’s Eyes

For children, there is no fresh start or optimism after their parents separate. The divorce has abolished the two-parent home that they knew and replaced it with an unfamiliar living arrangement. Normally, parents put their children's needs first. A divorce tells the children that their parents' needs are more important than keeping the family together. Though they may not say it, children can blame their parents for not saving their marriage. If not their parents, they may blame themselves. Adults understand that divorce is a natural and often necessary outcome when spouses have irreconcilable differences. For children, divorce is unnatural because it destroys their family.

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divorce and children, naperville divorce lawyerThe adjustment period for those going through a divorce can vary in emotional intensity and overall impact from person to person and from family to family. Children, in particular, are susceptible to high levels of stress and emotional turmoil, especially when the situation is not properly explained to them or communicated in a way that helps them understand the reason for the family separation.

Tips on Helping Your Children

If you are recently divorced and wish to provide your children with the ample support they need to grow up happy and healthy, making the following efforts can pay off in the long run:

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