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Ask the Therapist: Protecting Children During Divorce

Each month at our divorce workshop, a therapist discusses the emotional side of divorce. Topics include helping children cope and finding your self-esteem again. One of our presenters, Tina Lepage, shares these two divorce FAQs.

Q: How long does this emotional pain last?
A: The grief process is different for everyone. Often the person who asks for the divorce is further along in the grief process than their partner, especially if they are surprised by their partner’s decision to end the marriage. Grief has various stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You might stay in one stage for a while and skip others entirely or move through them quickly. You might go back and forth between stages. The goal always is to move towards acceptance, and that doesn’t follow a calendar timeframe. If you feel like grief is disrupting your life, see a therapist to help you through it. Supportive therapy has been shown in the research to help people move through difficult life transitions more effectively.

Q: How can we protect our children in the process? What are the things that make divorce better or worse for kids?

Photo by Praveen Kumar.
Photo by Praveen Kumar.

A: Research has shown two major factors that impact how well children cope with the life transition of divorce: how much conflict they experience, and whether or not they maintain an attachment to both parents. Thus if the parents keep their divorce low conflict and their co-parenting amicable, and ensure the child keep a good relationship with both parents, the children will do better than if they had to handle conflict and lack of connection.

This information provided by Lepage Associates, Tina Lepage, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist, CEO.

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