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If you and your spouse have made the difficult decision to dissolve your marriage, the next step is sharing this information with loved ones. Breaking the news to you’re your children that Mommy and Daddy will no longer live together can be just as hard as deciding to divorce in the first place. Follow these helpful strategies to support your children during this confusing time in all of your lives.

Be Open and Honest

Of course, it may not be a good idea to rehash Mommy's affair with the neighbor or Daddy's gambling problem with your kids. However, it may be helful to sit down as a family unit and tell the children together. Briefly explain to them that you will be ending your marriage without adding too much detail--which can often be more confusing and painful.

Say something to the effect of, "We have decided that it is best for us to live apart." The kids might have questions and you should answer them tactfully while being respectful of your spouse. Also, prepare for outrage. Children are often angry that their parents no longer want to be together. They often take divorce personally. Listen to their frustrations without defending. Encourage them to share their feelings with you. Be supportive of their needs and feelings upon sharing this news.

Be Reassuring

No matter what age your children are, divorce will take some toll on their lives. Both parents should reassure the children that although the marriage is over, they still love the children the same. The divorce is happening because Mommy and Daddy can't get along anymore, not because the child did anything wrong. Remind them that even though you may live in two separate households, both parents will continue to be an important part of the children's lives. Also, reassure them that evn though Mommy and Daddy will no longer live together, they will have two parents that will love them and support them no matter what occurs. It is important to convey that the children are not losing their parents.

Be Protective of Routine

Map out with your spouse a clear strategy for handling your children's daily lives. A good rule of thumb is to minimize disruptions to their routines. The children will feel safer sleeping in their own beds and continuing to attend the same schools. Too many drastic changes at once can be frightening and overwhelming for children during divorce. You have to realize that the divorce process is just as traumatic and difficult on the children as it may be on the adults. Keep this in mind to ensure that little is disrupted for your children. Also, encourage your children to continue communicating with you during this transition.

Although you have reassured them that the divorce is not their fault, they may start to believe it is if they appear to be "punished" as a result of it. A child who has to move to a new area and leave behind old friends may feel like these changes are because of them somehow. Maintaining as much normalcy as possible can help to shelter your children from these feelings of guilt.

Be Mature

Try to maintain a level of civility with your spouse. Calling the other names, playing the blame game or discussing the personal nature of the divorce with the children is unhelpful and may cause the children to build up resentment for you or your spouse. When you discuss matters concerning the divorce, do so with the other parent present and communicate ahead of time what topics are up for discussion with the children. Keep in mind the best interests of your children when trying to resolve issues. Children are very impressionable no matter the age. When children see their Mommy and Daddy working together, it ensures them that things may be ok and will only help them to heal and cope with the situation more productively.

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