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Helping Children Cope with Divorce

by Norris Law Group on May 29, 2014

Helping Children Cope with DivorceIn the May 6, 2014 edition, Deseret News writer Sharon Haddock recounts the story of Diane Price, a recently divorced mother of two young boys.  Right after her divorce, Price took her sons on a bus trip. One of the boys went up to a stranger on the bus and asked if he would marry his mother. Later that day, the same boy asked Price if another mad they knew from church could “sleep over.” His mother told him that only married people sleep over. Then, the boy suggested, “Well, Brother Hessler is married. He could sleep over.”

Price shared this humorous story at the 2014 Women’s Conference at Brigham Young University on May 2, to demonstrate how differently children and adults can interpret things: “It is so important to explain things but give appropriate explanations…Leave out the R-rated factors.” Price also said that it is important for children to realize that divorce is permanent and also that it was not their fault: “Imagine the pressure on a child who feels it’s his job to fix things.”

Dr. Brian J. Higgenbotham, therapist, associate vice-president for Utah State University Extension, says that children of divorce can definitely transition into their “new lives” successfully, “but they need resources, understanding and comfort…Children don’t understand this so what can we do? First, talk with them. Listen to understand, not necessarily to agree. Ask lots of questions and provide resources to them. Reassure the child. Tell them they are loved, many times over.”

Higgenbotham also offers some suggestions for activities and strategies to help children deal with a divorce:

 

  • Find books that deal with divorce in a positive way and read them with your children.
  • Don’t argue with or criticize the other parent in front of the children.
  • Don’t make children choose sides, spy for you or take messages to your ex-spouse.
  • Don’t expect “too much too soon.”
  • Keep up with familiar schedules and routines.
  • Maintain supportive relationships.
  • Minimize disruptions.
  • Take care of yourself and your children.

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce and family law. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

 

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