Divorce

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Updated: 1/14/2003 2:31 pm
Divorce can be extremely unsettling for children of any age. Many respond to divorce with pervasive feelings of sadness, strong wishes of reconciliation, and worries about having to take care of themselves. They may also experience stress, anxiety, depression, and even anger toward one or both parents. Some will feel that their parents have rejected them, while others will encounter feelings of guilt, often blaming themselves for their parents' divorce. In some cases, teenagers may be better prepared to deal with divorce than younger children. However, the teenage years involve a number of psychological and emotional pressures, and divorce may only complicate an already difficult period of adjustment. Although it's almost impossible to predict how a child will respond, many experts believe that children who have healthy relationships with both parents prior to the divorce are likely to continue to do so after the divorce. In order to help ease the transition, both parents should talk with their children. When doing so, parents should avoid displaying negative feelings towards one another, and parents should also be absolutely certain that children understand that they aren't responsible. Knowing that both parents will remain a constant part of their lives can be reassuring to adolescents and teens who are wondering how life will be changed by a divorce. Divorce can be difficult, but it's not necessary for a family to go through it alone. Counseling and support groups are available for advice and encouragement. For more information, consult a local health care professional.

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