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How parents can help children adjust to a divorce

The end of a marriage is stressful for children as well as their divorcing parents, and some Texas parents may worry that it will have a long-term negative effect on their children. They may have read stories about children of divorced parents who struggle in school or who have drug problems.

However, these stories can be misleading. Outcomes such as these are far from inevitable, and children from families where both parents are together have these issues as well. While co-parenting after a divorce can include challenges that parents who are still together do not face, divorced parents can still give their children a loving, stable environment that nurtures them. It can help children a great deal if parents can maintain an amicable relationship or at least avoid fighting in front of them after they divorce. Each parent should understand that the other parent is important in the child's life and should try to support that relationship.

Parents should also reassure their children that they are loved unconditionally. After a divorce, children may think one parent does not love them or that they are responsible for the divorce. Some parents may try to live up to a perfect parent standard after a divorce or ensure that their children always have fun when they are together. However, children benefit most from ordinary, consistent environments with boundaries as they had before the divorce.

While it is generally considered to be in the best interests of the child to have a relationship with both parents, there are situations in which it might be necessary to limit or even prevent that relationship. For example, if a parent is concerned about an international abduction, there are safeguards that can be put in place to help prevent it. A parent who is abusive or who has neglected the child may only get supervised visitation or no visitation.

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