Do you know what your kids really want during a divorce?

One of the biggest concerns for divorcing parents is doing what's best for their children. However, many parents, despite their good intentions, don't really understand what their children need and want during this time of upheaval.

One attorney and certified divorce coach says that there are four main things that kids want from their divorcing parents. If their parents can make these things a priority, even if it's difficult for them, both they and their children will likely be better for it.

-- Don't ask your kids to take care of you. If children see their parents having a difficult time coping, they'll feel a responsibility to make things better for them. That's an unfair burden to place on a child. Further, by showing your child that you can get through this and continue to enjoy life, you're modeling resilience that they can take into adulthood.

-- Don't criticize your children's other parent, either to them or in front of them. Find a family member, friend or therapist to talk to and ensure that you're out of your children's earshot when you do it. Kids overhear more than parents realize. Remember that your kids are part of both of their parents, so when one is disparaged, they can take it personally.

-- Make sure they know that they should still love their other parent. Whatever he or she did, it was likely to you and not them. Don't make them feel bad about telling you what a good time they had on a visit or a day out with their mom or dad.

-- Often children, particularly younger ones, need reassurance that even though you and your spouse may not love each other anymore, your feelings for them haven't changed. They may think that if you can stop loving their other parent or even feel great animosity toward him or her, the same can happen with your feelings for them. They may need constant reassurance of your love for awhile.

If you feel that your children are having a difficult time with the divorce, it may be a good idea to consider letting them talk to a therapist who has experience dealing with children of divorce. If you and your estranged spouse can be part of that process in a positive way, that may help. Your New York family law attorney can likely recommend someone who can help you.

Source: Huffington Post, "What Your Children Want In Your Divorce," Cherie Morris, July 08, 2016

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