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For Kids... When Your Parents Divorce

Here's a short list of some of the most important stuff to remember when your parents divorce:

  • The divorce is not your fault. It is not because you did anything wrong. Even if Dad and Mom seem more annoyed at you than usual lately, that does not mean the divorce was in any way your fault They are annoyed easily because they are going through a tough time.

  • It's OK to miss the parent who has moved out. It's OK even if the parent you're living with doesn't miss the parent who's gone.

  • You do not have to lose touch with the parent who moved out. If he (or she) stays nearby, you will have regular visiting time with him or her. If out of town, you Will get visiting vacations.

  • It's OK to feel sad or angry. Try to find good ways to work with your feelings. Don't hurt other people just because you're hurting.

  • It's OK to cry. (And it's OK not to cry.) There are lots of ways to help yourself to feel better, though. If an old toy or outgrown piece of clothing makes you feel better, it's OK to use it to help yourself.

  • It's OK to feel angry at your parents for getting divorced. Remember, they're getting divorced because they think it's the best thing to do. They are not doing it easily, or on a whim. They are not doing it to hurt you.

  • Your house may be a nicer place to live now, if your mom and dad were fighting before.

  • You do not have to choose sides. The divorce is between them. You are not being asked who was right or which parent you love more.

  • If your parents have seemed unhappy with you lately, it's just because of the tensions they're feeling. It's not you.

  • They are both still your parents, even though they don't live together anymore. They both still love you. You still have a family.

  • When you go to visit your dad (or mom) in his (or her) new home, it's going to feel strange in the beginning. Give it time. It will feel less strange as time goes by.

  • It's OK to like other people your parents start dating.

  • Most important of all: Parents who love you will not stop loving you. Even if your mom and dad have stopped loving each other, the love parents have for their kids is different and special.
Adapted from The Divorce helpbook for Kids, by Cynthia MacGregor. Available at online and local bookstores or directly from Impact Publishers, Inc., PO Box 6016, Atascadero, CA 93423-6016. Phone 1-800-246-7228.

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