Dealing with an only child during and after divorce

It may seem like divorcing parents with one child would have an easier time than those who have to deal with the emotions and care of two or more kids. However, parents of only children also face special challenges when they divorce.

Only children may feel more alone when their parents break up than those with siblings. They have no one who can share their unique experience. That's why you should encourage your child to socialize with his or her friends. That support system is more important now than ever.

An only child may feel a greater sense of responsibility to both parents. There aren't multiple kids to spend time with parents who may be feeling lonely. Only children may feel more torn between their parents. It's essential not to express negative thoughts about your ex in front of your child and make that child feel guilty if he or she is with one of you and not the other. Even if you'd prefer to have your child with you, consider what's best for your son or daughter.

Only children are often the center of their parents' lives. When those parents are living apart and the child is spending less time with each of them, it can be a drastic change. It's important to continue the activities that each of you used to engage in individually with your child in order to maintain your bond. You can find new activities as well and create new happy memories amid the divorce.

Of course, all of the standard advice for helping a child through divorce still applies when you have an only child. For example, you should always make sure that children understand that they were in no way responsible for the break-up. This can be even more crucial for an only child, who may feel more responsibility as the only other member of the immediate family. Understand your child's needs and concerns as you go through this time.

If you are able to go through the divorce process without a long, bitter battle, that can help your child deal with the divorce more easily. Your New York family law attorney can help you work to get the settlement you're seeking as efficiently as possible.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "Helping an Only Child Through a Divorce," accessed May 10, 2017

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