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For some kids, divorce can bring on grieving process

When it comes to kids and divorce, no two Florida families will have the exact same experience. In some cases, children will handle the news with relative ease, and will have no trouble transitioning into spending time between two households. For other children, divorce will be a very distressing matter. In such cases, many believe that kids will process their parents' divorce in much the same way as they would the loss of a loved one. The following tips are offered in the hopes of giving parents an idea of what to expect when a child has difficulty accepting the realities of divorce.

Initially, many children simply refuse to believe that their family structure is about to change. Parents should be prepared to have multiple conversations with their kids about the divorce and what to expect. It is also important to reassure them that while living arrangements will change, nothing can alter the love between a parent and child.

For many kids, the next step involves a period of anger and resentment about the divorce. Kids may act out both at school and at home during this time, and parents must respond with an appropriate level of discipline and understanding. This period will pass, and may be followed by a measure of sadness. While some degree of displeasure is normal, parents should be on guard for any signs of serious depression.

The next phase may include a period of bargaining, during which kids might promise to change their behavior if the parents agree to stay together. Parents must assure their kids that the decision to divorce has nothing to do with them, and as such no amount of changed behavior could reverse that decision. This can be a difficult time, but should be viewed as a normal part of the process.

Finally, kids will begin to accept that the shape of their family is going to change. This is a positive step, as the family's focus can shift to planning for the future. Once children in Florida and elsewhere understand that they will still have access to both parents, they will often shift their focus toward the more positive aspects of divorce, such as having more one-on-one time with each parent.  

Source: fremonttribune.com, "Children Go Through the Grief Cycle During Divorce or Separation", Lisa Poppe, May 13, 2015

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