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Impact of divorce on children

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When a family separates, relationships between the adults and the child will shift.

Meghan Lemery, LCSW-R Psychotherapist said, “Parents change their discipline patterns out of guilt. There is so much guilt around the family breaking up and feeling upset that they can't make the marriage work and often times I see the parents are trying to be the best friend trying to be the most fun."

After a separation, adults now have to define their new role as a single person, and that often impacts parenting. The degree of discipline tends to decrease which often creates anxiety for the child.

"If you change your technique as a parent not only having to deal with the physical transition of mom and dad not living together but now you are changing who you are as the parenting you character was not as it was before and that creates anxiety,” Lemery said.

No matter who moves out of the family home, the new home or apartment must be kept as consistent as possible for the child.

"It's important to maintain familiarity in the home that they are used to, whether it's the same bedding, the same pictures in the room,” Lemery said.

The transition of divorce can take a while, and there can be resentment and anger on either party.

Lemery said, "Reiterate to your children they have a supportive loving mom and dad and who can no longer together in a peaceful way."

When there is divorce, it's seldom that both parties want it, and often times bitterness creeps in. What is critical is to remain neutral and don't talk negatively about the parent in front of the child.

"We all go through hard times, but you have to be able to show the child how to get through a hard time and do it to a healthy way that’s not disparaging to the other parent,” Lemery said.

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