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Children and divorce: Ways to help them

When a Colorado couple divorces, it affects the entire family. The majority of parents find ways to handle the situation so as to protect the children from conflict and negativity, but it's easier said than done.

It might surprise some to know that about 75 percent of children whose parents have gone through a divorce experience no psychological, social or academic difficulties. Still, if a couple divorces, there are some things they can do to try to decrease the negative impact. Here are a few things they can do.

• When telling them about the divorce, give an honest and straightforward reason for what happens. It's also important to reiterate that they are loved and that the divorce has nothing to do with them.

• It's good to allow children to express how they feel about the divorce. Dismissing their feelings is not healthy and it's possible that they will need to go through their own grieving process.

• Give them details of what will change for them. Where will they live? Which parent will have primary custody? What can they expect to stay the same?

• Avoid allowing children to see conflict or hear their parents making negative remarks about each other.

• Assure them that they will still have a relationship with both parents, even if the parents' relationship with each other won't be the same as it was.

These are just a few ideas, and most of them involve common sense. If you see behavior (even your own) that might be negatively impacting a child, it's time to question it.

Source: Cary Citizen, "Your health: How does divorce affect children?" Kat North, Sept. 11, 2012

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