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Divorce Tips: "What About the Kids?"
By Susie and Otto Collins

"What about the kids?"

This is a question that probably weighs heavily on the mind of anyone considering getting a divorce.

You might worry how upset or heartbroken your child or children might be if you and your spouse split up.

If you have already made the decision to get a divorce, you might be grappling with daily struggles of how best to support your kids while you try to handle a myriad of difficult decisions and transitions.

We believe that it is important to consider your child or children in the midst of a divorce.

They will undoubtedly be affected by these changes and the emotional upheaval in those around them-- as well as within themselves.

But too often, parents put the bulk of their attentions on their children's needs (or assumed needs) and they neglect their own needs.

This truly doesn't help anyone involved.

The end result in cases like this is usually a parent who lashes out and "melts down" because he or she is so consumed with helping the kids handle the divorce, his or her own needs are neglected.

Conversely, a parent may have the best of intentions keep the kids out of the middle of the
angst or upset going on with the other parent but the kids are dragged into the fray nonetheless and not emotionally supported in the process.

Either way, nobody wins!

The Gosselin family, who is the focus of the reality
television show "Jon and Kate Plus 8," are most likely going through pushes and pulls right now as the parents go through a highly publicized divorce.

Yes, they have the luxury of nannies and other child care assistants, but it's probable that all involved are feeling the strain of the divorce.

Jon and Kate Gosselin have decided upon a less conventional approach to help their children with this life change, however.

Rather than moving their 8 children from one home
to another every other week or weekend-- depending on the custody agreement that is reached-- it is the parents who will move.

The Gosselin children will not have multiple homes, each of their parents will.

This arrangement might not be practical or desirable for all families going through a divorce.

There is a certain level of cooperation and flexibility between the parents that is required.

But it is an example of divorcing parents who
are willing to try different possibilities to help their whole family ease through this transition.

Reach for balance
As you go through the divorce and you long to help your children cope, remember to reach for balance.

There will probably be occasions when intense emotions arise within you.

Don't stuff them down or promise yourself you'll deal with them another day so that you can "be
strong" for your kids.

Instead, arrange for a sitter or find something your kids can do safely and independently for awhile so that you can take the time to be with your emotions.

On the other hand, you might recognize that your child is having a really tough day and seems to need you more than usual.

Be open to changing your plans and make yourself
available for an extra hug or a special outing.

These might feel like unsure times for all of you. Honor your needs and stay clued in to what your kids need as well.

Be honest and open with your children-- without dumping on them or weighing them down with details that might be inappropriate.

Communicate about what you are willing to do
for them and ask for extra help and support when you need it.

Even the youngest child can give a hug just as even the oldest teen might want a hug.

Look for possibilities
Just as the Gosselin family came to an agreement about living arrangements that might not be the norm, be on the lookout for new ways to help your family through this time as well.

Again, the living arrangements the Gosselins are trying out might not be a fit for you and your situation.

The point here is to stay open and consider all possible options.

You might initially reject a particular scenario only to realize that it could ease the way for all of you.

Try not to harden or become rigid about anything. You can listen to an idea that your ex proposes and take time to sort out your feelings about it.

It might end up being a great solution that will work for you as well-- or it might not be something that you choose to go along with.

Above all, be gentle with yourself and be gentle with your kids.

Know that keeping the connection strong with your
children is vital. Also know that staying tuned in to your own needs is vital.

You don't have to choose one over the other-- there is room for both.







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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins
PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling 614-459-8121.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email

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