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Telling the child about the divorce is important

Children often feel responsible for their parents' divorce and may live with the feeling of guilt for being responsible for the divorce. Often, the parents don't discuss their divorce with the children, assuming that they will figure out the reason for the divorce on their own.

When parents decide to separate and file for divorce, they should discuss it with their children. Parents need to be honest, effective and real while discussing the divorce with their children. Honesty is important because divorce breaks a primary trust. Children believe that their parents will always be there to support and protect them and divorce shatters that fundamental trust. It is important to understand that there are places to turn to get help, including in large cities such as Philadelphia, and small towns and boroughs.

It is essential that both parents sit together and inform their child about the separation and the divorce. The parents' ability to impart the news of divorce in a caring manner will affect the child's perception of the future. Future co-parenting decisions depend greatly on the divorcing couple's ability to effectively deal with the child. The child needs to see and hear that the divorce is something that the whole family must bear together. The message to the child should be that both parents care for the child and the child should understand the visitation plans.

Another important factor that needs to be considered is to speak kindly about the ex-partner to the child. The child needs to know that mom and dad do not love each other anymore enough to stay together but that they both love the child. The child should also understand the changes prior to one of the parents moving out of the primary residence. This is the beginning of the co-parenting phase. An adolescent child may react with some understanding but a younger child may be confused and will need to be supported during the crisis.

Source: Huffington Post, "Telling Your Child About The Divorce," Edward D Farber, Jan. 18, 2013

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