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Helping kids come to terms with life changes in divorce

Virginia families often encounter challenges when issues arise or changes occur in their lives, such as switching jobs, relocating or parents getting divorced. If you or your spouse is in the military and you are navigating or have just completed divorce proceedings, you may have had many decisions to make regarding child custody, your family care plan, property division and your co-parenting arrangement.

Depending on the ages and personalities of your kids, they may have some good days and others, don't go as well. You can expect that each of your children may have different reactions and that, with your love and encouragement, as well as any outside support they might need, they will come out on top and learn to successfully adapt to a new lifestyle.

Practical ways you can help

Beyond telling your children you love them and are there to help them come to terms with your family's situation, it is also good to be proactive in supporting them as they cope with the fact that both their parents no longer live under one roof. The following list includes useful ideas that may apply to your situation:

  • Hearing one parent speak negatively about the other may upset your kids, so it is best if you try to stay on good terms with your ex, for your children's sakes. At least try to speak in a positive manner whenever your former spouse is a topic of conversation.
  • Don't feel like you have to handle everything on your own. If your kids see that you are not afraid to reach out for support, they are more likely to do the same when they are feeling down or are worried about a particular issue.
  • Some parents find it helpful to seek co-parenting coaching, especially those going through divorce for the first time.
  • There are also community groups you may want to join where someone in your situation can share their thoughts and offer advice to one another.

If a problem arises that you don't feel equipped to handle on your own, it's good to remember that you're not alone in your struggle and that there are resources in place to help you iron out wrinkles in your parenting plans. Your children's best interests are the central focus point and you have a right to protect your rights as you act in their best interests.

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