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Even though I am financially secure, I worry about money constantly...

Helping Children Cope with Divorce


Helping Children Cope with Divorce


Parenting: Four Tips for Parents Helping Children Deal with a Marital Break-up


By DAVE BOLSTER



    There is no magic word that will help children adjust perfectly to divorce. But the good news is that there's lots of help available.  


The emotional and financial changes that come with divorce are arguably the two largest factors in a child’s ability to cope successfully. While some studies show that children experience psychological problems when divorce-related financial difficulties occur, money is no guarantee of happiness. Strategies to “purchase” a child’s love may in fact backfire.

In her book "Your Child’s Divorce: What to Expect, What You Can Do," Marsha Temlock notes that children may resent the parent who comes out wealthier after a divorce. Financial stress may also induce long-lasting problems says Sheryl Nantus, an author from Pennsylvania, whose parents divorced when she was four. “Even though I'm now financially secure, I worry about money constantly and flinch at paying full price for anything,” she says.  

Children who are confident and happy before the divorce will adapt more easily than shy or nervous children. While children with high intelligence still experience emotional problems, they will be less severe. It is possible that some children may even benefit from divorce later in life with increased skills in social problem solving. Equally important is the custodial parent’s well-being. Dr. David Fassler, a child psychiatrist from Vermont, says that “less obvious” forms of stress placed on a child such as a parent’s depression can be difficult for children.

Simply speaking, happy parents make for happy children. This means that when mom and dad invest in their own physical, mental, or psychological health, the kids benefit. And no, this does not mean parents are encouraged to sign up for package tours of the Caribbean while the little ones sit alone in front of the TV: the children come first. Here are a few tips to remember as you try to help your children cope with your divorce. 

1. Parents are still parents.
Maintaining good parenting skills during a divorce is crucial to a child’s positive development. Parents will need to watch their children even more carefully than they had before..Young children need to be directed their homework rather than toward the TV; adolescents will require slightly more supervision to ensure continued success at school. 

Positive discipline teaches children that their actions have consequences, provides children with a sense of responsibility and helps them learn self-control. Young children do not have the experience or education to make many important decisions and divorce is not a free pass into adulthood. Rather, divorce is a time when parents need to be clear that adults make large decisions. While discipline does provide children with stability, if a parent establishes unreasonable, impartial, or inconsistent rules, their children may develop emotional and academic problems.  

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