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Discussing post-divorce living arrangements with kids

For Texas parents who are preparing to divorce, one of the most difficult aspects of that process involves breaking the news to one's children. No parent wants to have this discussion, and most understand that there will be a degree of sadness and a sense of loss that accompanies the news that divorce is on the horizon. When broaching the subject, parents must be fully prepared to answer a range of questions, including giving some level of detail concerning the living arrangements that will soon follow.

Kids tend to see the world through their own experience and are, by nature self-centered creatures. Once they learn that their parents are planning to divorce, one of their first concerns will be how that change will impact their living arrangements. Kids who have reached school age are aware that there are a number of custody arrangements that can shape where a child resides and how much access he or she has to the other parent.

Parents must first work together to figure out a basic plan for future living arrangements. While this early plan may not exactly match the final custody outcome, kids will want to know the basics of where they will live and with whom. Being prepared to answer these questions can go a long way toward making the initial divorce discussion easier to manage.

It is important that parents present a united front when discussing divorce with their kids. By having both parents present, kids will feel as though they are getting the full story on why their family structure is about to change. This approach can also keep kids from feeling as though they are being forced to take sides in the matter. Both parents should be prepared to participate in the discussion, and to emphasize that although their adult relationship has changed, nothing can ever alter the bond that exists between a parent and child.

Often, the anxiety that Texas parents feel when preparing to discuss divorce with their kids is worse than the reality of the conversation. While kids may struggle to accept the change in the family's structure, the process of moving forward can be greatly eased when parents work together. The act of discussing divorce and living arrangements with kids is one of the first steps in developing a co-parenting relationship, and can help pave the way for future success as parenting partners.

Source: The Huffington Post, "How Do You Tell Your Children That You Are Getting a Divorce?", Jim Halfens, June 26, 2015

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