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Collaborate. Mediate. Separate. Divorce Doesn’t Have to Mean War.

Before telling the kids about your divorce, get on the same page

When parents in Pennsylvania consider divorce, how it could affect their children is often a major concern. Will the children think it is their fault? Will they struggle in school because of the change in living situations? Will their mental health falter? These are all legitimate concerns, but some couples know that ultimately divorce will be best for the whole family.

In those cases, the way you approach your children about the divorce is very important. The first step is to make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page.

Before you tell your kids that you are breaking up, you and your spouse should talk alone about how you will tell them. What reasons will you give them? What will you tell them about life after the divorce? Having answers prepared for these questions and others will reduce the likelihood that you will start arguing and will ensure that you are not contradicting each other.

The next step, of course, is to tell your children. A recent article in The Southern suggests that it is best to do this together because it will show your kids that you can still work together and be around each other even though you won't be married anymore.

Finally, be nice to each other, and be real with your children. Avoid saying bad things about each other in front of your children. It can confuse them about their role in your divorce and may push them to pick sides. What exactly you tell your children about your divorce may depend on their age and maturity level, but you can be straightforward with them about what the future will be like. Letting them know the divorce is not their fault, and being clear about the fact that your family will be changing can help limit the anxiety they feel about the situation.

Source: The Southern, "How to tell your children about the divorce," Feb. 23, 2014

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