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Parenting during a Separation: Helping Your Children Cope with the Change


Divorce or separation of parents can bring drastic effects to the children; especially if the children are still of a young age. But there are children who still do well after their parents have divorced or separated. This is the result of excellent parenting approaches during a separation. Even if it is a life challenging transition for both the kids and the parents, things can still go well for the children when good parenting is used.

Keep Communication Channels Open

If you are going through a separation process with your partner, your children will feel various conflicting emotions. For this reason, it is important that you provide them with support and understanding. But in order to help your kids, you have to understand them first. Try to create a nice environment wherein they can speak out and express what they feel about the situation. If your children are hesitant to speak out, encourage them to talk about their feelings over the separation. Let them know that they are free to ask you questions about the separation by keeping lines of communication open and answering all their questions.

They Still have Two Parents

It is also important not to forbid them of having close relationships with your ex-partner. You have to support your children in this regard so that they feel loved and wanted by both parties. Keep in mind that your role as a parent does not end when a divorce happens. Your children will have a great chance to grow as functional people if they continue to have good role models and nurturers as they grow up. Kids need to feel safe and loved regardless of which parent has custody. In case you get to keep the kids, try to encourage the other parent to stay involved in their school activities as well. Avoid being jealous or upset if you feel like the kids love your ex more than you. 

Setting Limits

When parents separate, setting limits and imposing appropriate discipline for the kids are sometimes sacrificed. Some divorced parents may become stricter, while others tend to be more lenient with their kids; this is the way many non-custodial parents assuage their guilt feelings for not being with their children more often. This can cause confusion to the children however, since the rules and expectations differ on both sides. In order to avoid this, try to maintain standard routines so the kids will become more familiar with your rules and disciplinary method.

Divorce significantly affects the emotional well being of your children. Despite the trying times, you can help them feel positive about themselves. Your kids will succeed in life if they feel that they are loved unconditionally (even through divorce) and that they did not cause the divorce. You may want to give them age appropriate responsibilities to help them feel that they matter. If you don't ask them for anything, children may start to feel that they are incapable and unimportant.  Be patient with them.

Finally, avoid exposing children to parental disagreements. Don't fight with your former partner, instead, work together and try to agree on certain matters regarding the needs of your children. If there is no way you can be civil with your ex, try to create a plan and set up rules so that your kids will not be able to see both of you fighting. Remember that your kids can still grow healthy and happy even if your marriage didn't work out.

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