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Co-parenting in divorce: Work as a team to help kids cope

If you're a parent in Connecticut who has filed for divorce and is planning to discuss the topic with your children, you might be feeling a bit stressed and anxious over the situation. You can take comfort in knowing that you are definitely not alone in your struggle, as many other parents throughout this state and across the country will also be navigating divorce proceedings as a new year unfolds.

While it's true that such a decision will no doubt prompt numerous changes in children's lives, it's often possible to help them cope and move on in life in a healthy, productive way. Co-parenting is typically a key factor toward helping kids adapt to a post-divorce lifestyle.

Each child's reaction might be unique

It's a good idea if you and your ex can agree to sit down together and talk to your children so that your whole family is in one room when they learn that you are planning to divorce. You might notice that one child may feel more at ease in expressing his or her emotions than another.

While each of your kids will have his or her own way of dealing with the situation, it's important to remember that most children fare best when they understand that their parents both still love them. They should also feel free to still show their love for both parents without either one getting upset.

Several ways children process emotions

It's not uncommon for a child to become a bit more reclusive than usual or grow quiet when it comes to telling how he or she feels about life changes involving divorce. Other children might do the exact opposite and become aggressive in their behavior or show signs of anger toward their siblings or parents.

Some children are able to discuss their feelings in a calm, mature manner. By building a strong support network, you can help your kids cope, no matter what their initial reaction to the news of your pending divorce happens to be.

Parental conflict affects kids' ability to cope

If your children witness you and your ex working together as a team to create a co-parenting arrangement that keeps their best interests in mind, chances are good that they will be able to successfully adapt to their new lifestyles. On the other hand, if your relationship with your ex is contentious, it can have a direct negative impact on your children's ability to cope with your divorce.

There have been tests done that have shown that stress hormone levels skyrocket in children who are exposed to parental conflict, particularly in connection with a divorce. It's not uncommon for parents to disagree about certain issues regarding their children, even for married couples. What matters most is how co-parents act when attempting to resolve such issues.

No need to go it alone

It's understandable that you might not want to share details of your personal life, especially regarding divorce, with a lot of other people. However, it's often helpful for families, particularly children, when others are on hand to provide encouragement, advice and support as they learn to adjust to a post-divorce family life.

Extended family members, licensed counselors, ministers, school faculty, close friends and legal advocates can all have key roles in helping you rise above any challenges or obstacles that arise as you and your children lay the groundwork for your new lifestyle.

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TJC • ESQ

TJC · ESQ
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Providence, RI 02903

Phone: 401-400-4254
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