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How to Prevent Children from Blaming Themselves for Divorce

By Leslie Fineberg on June 10, 2013

According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), nearly half of all marriages today end in divorce. It is normal for parents with children who plan on getting a divorce to worry about the effect the divorce will have on their children.

When their parents divorce, the children may feel their security threatened. They may be confused and become scared. Children may not interpret divorce the way parents do, and they may feel as if something they did caused the divorce. In order to avoid this misinterpretation, parents have the responsibility to explain to their children how they are involved and what will occur in their future.

Some children even take on the responsibility for getting their parents to change their minds. Parents need to help their children constructively deal with their emotions, but talking with them about divorce is not easy. Parents need to be alert to signs of emotional problems. Young children may withdraw. They may exhibit behavioral problems, and their school work may suffer. Teens may suffer self-esteem issues.

The AACAP offers the following advice to parents:

  • You and your spouse must tell the children together
  • Never try to keep the divorce a secret
  • Explain to your children that the divorce is not their fault
  • Keep the explanation of the reasons for the divorce straight-forward and simple
  • Never discuss each other’s faults or put down each other; your children love you both
  • Reassure your children that both of you will continue to love them as before and that divorce does not mean one of you stops being their parent

The Chicago family law attorneys at the firm of Nottage & Ward understand what an emotional time divorce can be for everyone. Pressure on a child to choose sides or long custody disputes can potentially harm children. If you are a parent and contemplating divorce, contact one of our Illinois family law attorneys. We can help you efficiently obtain a favorable child custody agreement. Please call (312) 332-2915 for help during a trying time.

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