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What kids may think, but may not say, re: parents' divorce

It is perhaps one of the great conundrums of life that couple's often wind up getting a divorce because they never figured out how to productively communicate during marriage. What is equally intriguing is how important good communication is for effectively reaching terms that will allow the ex-spouses to resolve all their divorce-related issues so they can close one chapter and get on with the next.

Property division and questions of spousal support issues can be tricky to untangle. And if children are involved, the matters of custody and child support can pose challenges. An attorney's help in navigating such potentially troubled waters tends to be crucial.

As important as solid communication is, it's easy to overlook, especially where the kids are concerned. It doesn't help that, in many instances, the children may not know how to put what they think and what they feel into words. Here are some clues from the relationship website YourTango about what your kids may be thinking, but not saying about your divorce.

  • It's your divorce, not mine. I can understand that you may have bones to pick with mom or dad, but don't do the picking while I'm around. I still love you both.
  • Can we focus on the family? I care less about who is getting what as part of the divorce. My bigger concern is not knowing how to function in this new scenario. I'd also really appreciate it if when talking about visitation in my presence that you don't make it sound like a chore. Oh, and could you both get on the same page on parenting and discipline issues?
  • Can you please protect me? I'm in pain over this whole thing and I'm not sure how or what to think. I don't even know how to react if someone teases me about the divorce.
  • Don't let your divorce experience frame how you talk to me about my friends. I get that you might not like some of my friends, but if it sounds like your complaints are coming from a place stoked by your pain over the divorce, I'm not likely to listen.
  • Don't dismiss my feelings. Do I really need to go into detail here? I'm scared. You stopped loving the person you divorced. Will you stop loving me?

In short, foster communication because divorce is not the time to shut down.

Source: The Huffington Post, "12 Things Kids Think About Divorce But Are Too Afraid To Say," Tara Kennedy-Kline, YourTango, April 20, 2014

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