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Children and divorce in Arizona: Helping kids deal with the changes

Dealing with the end of their parents’ marriage is often difficult for Arizona children, but there are things people can do to help their kids cope.

More and more, couples in Maricopa and Pinal counties, and elsewhere, are divorcing. In fact, the American Psychological Association reports that approximately 40 to 50 percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce. While this can be difficult enough for the adults involved to deal with, it may be even more challenging for their children to get through. There is no way for parents to completely eliminate the pain that the end of a marriage may have on their children. However, there are things they can do to help them cope.

Breaking the news

Once parents have made the decision to divorce, it is advisable that they tell their children what is going on. This may help reduce some of the stress and anxiety that kids may feel if they pick up that something is wrong, but do not know what is happening. Additionally, it is suggested that people sit down as a couple to tell their children about their decision. Doing so may help reinforce to their kids that they will be able to continue parenting together and putting the children's interests ahead of their own. For parents who aren't sure how best to break the news to their children, it may be helpful to consult with a counselor or other child specialist for guidance.

Tell others who interact with the kids

The Mayo Clinic recommends that parents inform their children's teachers, school counselors and doctors that they are getting divorced. This makes them aware of the situation so that they are able to observe the children and let the parents know if they have any concerns. Furthermore, they may be able to offer guidance regarding how parents might better help their children deal with this type of major life change.

Be prepared for mixed reactions

At first, it is common for children to be concerned with how they will be affected by a divorce. They may have questions regarding where they will live, the parenting time arrangements and whether they will be able to continue attending the same school. After the reality of the situation sets in, however, they may have a range of emotions. Some may become depressed or angry, while others may regress back to behaviors they had outgrown. WebMD points out that parents should get help for their children if they are struggling to cope.

Avoid making kids part of the fight

Due to the emotions and feelings that are often at play at the end of a marriage, people may argue with their soon-to-be former spouses. Additionally, they may speak poorly of each other. While this is normal, it is imperative that parents do not make their kids a part of the fight. Thus, they should avoid arguing or having heated discussions in front of the children or within the kids' earshot.

Furthermore, each parent should refrain from badmouthing the other to or in front of their kids. Doing so may upset their children and, in some cases, may make them feel as though they have to choose one parent over the other. This may make it harder for them to deal with the changes.

Seeking legal guidance

The longer an Arizona divorce is drawn out, the more difficult it may be for those involved to cope. This is particularly true for the children of divorcing parents. Working with an attorney may help people to set aside their differences and efficiently negotiate settlements so that they are able to put their marriages behind them and look to the future as co-parents .

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