Connecticut divorce and children: Adjusting to the changes

Divorce can be particularly hard on children, but there are things parents can do that may help them cope with the split and adjust to the changes.

Scientific American reports the parents of 1.5 million children across country get divorced each year. Even if children in Connecticut and elsewhere are able to understand a split is for the best, it may be upsetting and dealing with the changes may be difficult. There is no guaranteed way for parents to remove the grief their break up may cause for their children. However, taking certain steps may help them aid their children to adjust to a divorce.

Limit exposure to conflict

It is to be expected that there will be some amount of conflict between divorcing spouses. Though, research suggests that being witness to their parents' arguments may impede children's adjustment and how they cope with a divorce. Thus, it is important for parents to avoid arguing in front of their children whenever possible. To this end, they may find it helpful to discuss contentious or sensitive subjects over the phone or when their children are not around.

Encourage communication

Discussing their feelings may be a vital step for children in coping with their parents' marriage dissolution. Thus, parents should encourage their kids to share how they feel and what they are thinking. However, they should allow them to open up on their own terms.

When children do want to talk about divorce, parents are advised to keep the focus on their kids' feelings instead of their own. It may help for them to respond to what their children are saying and avoid telling them how to feel or what they think they feel.

Facilitate ongoing relationships

Going from living with both parents under the same roof to sharing time between two separate households is often the most significant change for children of divorced parents. Despite no longer living together, it is generally in children's best interest to have a relationship with both of their parents. Therefore, people are advised to support and encourage their children to maintain a relationship with their other parents. Additionally, parents should continue to communicate with each other regarding problems, achievements, activities, events and other important things that are going on in their kids' lives.

Be ready to answer questions

Whether right away or down the road, the divorce of their parents often raises questions for children. Some may have pragmatic concerns, like wondering about the living and visitation arrangements. Others may ask more emotional-based questions, such as whether they played a part in the split, what happened to cause the divorce or if there is a chance for a reconciliation.

Some parents may shy away from answering their kids' questions because they are unsure of how to answer, the questions are upsetting or make them uncomfortable, or for any other number of reasons. This may only add to their children's confusion and upset. Thus, parents are advised to provide details or answers as best as they are able. They should, however, keep their responses age appropriate and avoid placing blame.

Obtaining legal assistance

Divorce may be a life-changing experience for kids and adults alike in Connecticut and elsewhere. However, the end of a marriage does not have to be a negative experience. Working with an attorney may help those who are breaking up to efficiently and effectively resolve their divorces so they and their children may move forward.