The decision to get a divorce can be very difficult. You don't want to make this decision without weighing your situation in its entirety. Quite often we turn to family and friends for help and advice, and yet sometimes outside biases can complicate our decisions. The counseling office is a neutral place to discuss the details of your decisions with a person trained in conflict resolution.
If you are proceeding with divorce and children are involved, there are many factors that can help your children cope. Children do not belong in the center of your conflict. It is understood that you may be trying to handle things this way, but the other parent is not. That does not mean that you should not do your part to keep the conflict low for your child. This is difficult. The child has 2 parents and has the right to continue to have a separate relationship with each parent. Effective co-parenting and decision making can limit the impact of divorce on your child. Your child has the right to his/her own experience with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. It is not appropriate for you to bad mouth their parent because you are hurting.
Divorce affects the entire family, from the top down. Children quite often have difficulties dealing with situations that arise because of the climate of the home, before, during, and after a divorce. Even times when a marriage is being reconciled, children continue to have difficulties. These difficulties might be behavior changes at school or home, change in sleeping or eating habits, trouble concentrating or difficulty with friendships. Once again, the counseling office provides a neutral environment for children to deal with the confusing feelings that accompany a tense home environment.
Teenagers can be very good at hiding their feelings during a divorce situation. Because the teenage years are developmentally challenging anyway, the addition of a family stressor can be overwhelming for your teenager, who may on the outside be telling you, "I don't care what you do." Don't hesistate to talk to your teen about his or her feelings during a tumultous time. You can never assume they are fine because they "seem" fine. Ask!
Above all, providing support, encouragement and guidance for your children will help them get through this. Encourage them to spend time with friends and family who support them without adding to the conflict.
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