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Helping children adjust to divorce

For Massachusetts parents who are ending their marriage, guiding their children through the divorce process may be difficult. However, there are steps they can take to help their children better adjust to the situation.

If possible, parents should try to cooperate with one another and minimize disagreements. This might mean that it is necessary to put aside some differences and forgive one another for the sake of the children. If parents do have a disagreement, they should try to avoid arguing in front of their offspring.

Parents should also make an effort to reduce the amount of upheaval in their children's lives. Some change is inevitable, but parents should be aware of the effect the disruption has on their kids and work with them to get through it as well as to make it as easy as possible. Parents should also remember to care for themselves. Reducing stress makes them more effective parents who are in turn better able to meet their children's needs.

Many studies have found that children adjust better in a low-conflict divorce as compared to one that is filled with stress. If parents are facing a lot of conflict or cannot agree on certain things, they might want to consider mediation. A mediator may be able to help them resolve their differences and may also introduce conflict resolution skills that will be useful as they attempt to work together to make the divorce less difficult for children. Both a mediator and attorneys can assist parents in putting together a parenting plan that addresses their concerns about everything from visitation time to how they will handle various aspects of raising the children. However, parents who are unable to resolve their differences through a mediator or who have serious concerns, such as abuse or the possibility of child abduction, might want to go straight to litigation.

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