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How to tell your child that you're getting divorced

12179361_S.jpgWhile making the decision to divorce is never easy, for parents, breaking the news to the kids can be even harder. When it comes to announcing something as big as the breakup of the normal family structure, there are no second chances and parents would be wise to form a united front and to carefully think through and practice what they want to say before delivering the difficult news.

Above all, a child wants and needs to know that he or she is loved and safe. It can be devastating, therefore, when a child suddenly learns that the two people upon which he or she relies and trusts the most are no longer in love and that mom or dad is moving out. To quiet and address a child's fears and concerns, parents must do their best to reassure a child that a divorce is not his or her fault and that everything will be ok.

Whenever possible, parents should do their best to deliver the news together. This not only helps ensure that parents are on the same page with regard to their messaging, but also reaffirms to a child that both mom and dad are and will always be there. Additionally, having both parents in the room gives the child the opportunity to ask questions.

The specific details of this conversation will depend a lot on a child's age, personality and maturity level. Parents would be wise not to over share about a divorce or to blame one another, regardless of the circumstances, for their split. It's also important to anticipate the types of questions that a child may have regarding living arrangements and custody and visitation schedules.

In cases where a child is having a particularly difficult time adjusting to and coping with a divorce, parents should seek help from a professional therapist or counselor who can assist all family members as they adjust to their new family structure.

Source: Huffington Post, "9 Things To Consider Before Telling Your Kids About The Divorce," Armin Brott, July 28, 2014

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