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Divorce: How do children feel about it?

Like all good parents, you spend a lot of time thinking about your children, being strategic about decisions that you know will affect their well-being. It's understandable that when you decided to divorce, you may have felt nervous about telling your kids. The good news is that children are highly adaptable and resilient by nature. With a strong support system in place, your kids should be fine.  

That's not to say you won't encounter challenges along the way as you help them come to terms with the situation and move on in life. It can be quite helpful to try to view things from your children's perspective. Learning more about how children think about divorce may help you avoid problems down the line. It is also good to know how to access family justice support

Issues important to children 

To find out how your children feel, you of course would have to talk to them. You're likely to have multiple discussions with your kids after letting them know what life changes lie ahead. As long as you ensure them that the lines of communication are wide open and they are free to share their feelings with you at any time, you will be aware of how they feel.

The following list includes statements other children have made regarding what issues are important to kids when their parents get divorced:  

  • Children often say that when one parent tries to make things difficult for the other, it also makes things more difficult for the kids. 
  • Many children say they hate it when their parents use them as messengers rather than just saying what they want to say to each other.
  • A lot of kids want to remind their parents that they love both of them and they feel upset and confused if one parent tries to turn them away from the other. 
  • Kids want to be happy but if they see their parents always angry or sad, they will likely have difficulty laughing or smiling from day to day. 
  • Children are perceptive. Many kids say they resent when a parent tries to buy their love.  

Parents will always want to remember that children take their cues from them, so your example is important. Though your kids may not say these exact things, it is most important that your children know you love them and are there to support them as they cope with your divorce.  

Adults need help, too  

Some young people say they wish their parents would seek counseling or get help to deal with their own feelings so they can be in a better position to support their kids. Whether you confide in a friend or request an appointment with a licensed professional, it is important to take care of your own emotional needs. If the main problem you're currently facing is a legal one, support is available to help you find a solution for that, as well.

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