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Three ways to minimize the impact of divorce on children

Divorce is difficult for all members of a family to endure, but children are especially vulnerable to the potentially negative emotional consequences of a divorce. Although child custody and child support issues can be stressful for parents, there are several things that parents can do to minimize the impact of a divorce on the lives of their children.

The best way to prevent a child from experiencing the negative impact of a divorce is to keep the child's welfare as a clear priority during the divorce. Here are three ways to make sure that your child has the best chance of thriving after a family reorganization:

Tip 1: Be a role model. Although many parents will avoid fighting around their children during a divorce, it is important to acknowledge that even small children will notice the tension between their parents. Even worse, young children will mimic their parents' behavior, so it is important to not display uncivil behavior which your children may adopt.

Tip 2: Reduce conflict. Children are very perceptive and will pick up on signs of conflict even if you are intentionally attempting to put on a positive face in front of them. That is why it is important to make consistent, intentional efforts to reduce the amount of conflict before, during and after a divorce.

Tip 3: Consistent messaging. It is vital to provide children with clear, age-appropriate messaging that their parents still love them and that they are not to blame for the divorce. It is also important to demonstrate that this message is true by never arguing about child custody issues in front of your child. Also avoid attempting to negatively influence your child's opinion of their other parent.

Source: Huffington Post, "The Kids' Will Be Just Fine And Other Divorce Myths," Claire N. Barnes, Feb. 3, 2012

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