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Help Your Child Cope with Divorce

Divorce is often seen as a final resort which a couple should avoid at all costs. There are situations where divorce could be the only option and in these cases, the family has no choice but to survive. Regardless of the circumstances of divorce, the children are always caught in the crossfire. 

Effects of Divorce on Children

Divorce will have many effects on younger children since their main source of security is their parents. They could develop trust issues or have an irrational fear of being left alone. This effect could extend into adulthood and affect their relationships.

The aftermath of divorce will also subject the child to significant adjustments. Their parents will now live separately and the child has to divide their time with them and also need to stay in two different houses. These adjustments will take their toll on the child and the strain can manifest physically through eating disorders or even self-harm. 

In order to help your child survive through your divorce, the parents must observe the following:

  • Assure your child that the divorce is not his fault. If the children have witnessed the deterioration of the relationship, they may place the blame upon themselves. It is imperative for both parents to take responsibility for their decision to divorce and this should be extensively explained to the children.
  • Be patient with the children and avoid telling them to just “move on.” The parents should remember that even if they gradually reached the decision to divorce, it will always come as a shock to their children. Since the parents know that the children will most likely object, they are often excluded in the decision making process. Thus, while the mother and father are mentally prepared and may even have arrangements ready for the upcoming split, the children are often blindsided. Because of this, they would naturally take more time to accept and move on. 
  • Maintain the stability of all other elements in his life. Whenever possible, it is advised that the other things in the children’s life remain the same. Let him stay in the same school, continue his piano class and keep the lines of communication open with extended family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins). 
  • Avoid fostering animosity towards the other parent. No matter how ugly the divorce proceedings have been, if the children will be under shared custody it is best to maintain an amicable relationship with the other parent. Divorce is already the aftermath of conflict and the parents should end the ensuing stress on their children as soon as possible. 
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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at timothy.hutton@austintexaslegal.com

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