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Don't put your child in the middle of your divorce

Out of everyone involved in a divorce, it's most often children who get caught in the middle. They have to learn to cope with their parents splitting up while also dealing with their own anger and frustration. They are young, so they are not prepared for these complex emotions, and they may not have the experience needed to deal with the feelings they have.

It's important for parents to realize that their children see everything they do. If you are angry and spiteful, your child may learn that it's okay to be that way. He or she may start acting out or behaving badly with your ex-spouse because of the things you say, and that's not fair to your child.

Around one out of four children live with only one parent in the United States. Children can learn to deal with this, but they need to feel a connection with their parents despite the animosity. Parents have to talk to them and explain the situation; they have to help them learn to cope. Failing to do this can lead to many problems down the line, from depression to anger or extreme sadness and lethargy.

Children who don't know what to expect experience anxiety and stress. They may become defiant or angry, or they could worry excessively. Parental estrangement is another concern you should have, since your child can become alienated from you or your ex if you ignore or use your child for your own benefit. Your child may also act out if you or your ex are talking badly about one another. You can take each other to court if you see parental estrangement starting to occur, but mediation and other options are also available.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Don’t Pawn The Children," Elizabeth Esrey, Dec. 02, 2016

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