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Some children will respond to parents' divorce by grieving

Many social science researchers believe that the end of a marriage is akin to a loss for a family's children. Even when divorce is inarguably the best choice for all involved, transitioning from one household into two can be a challenge for kids. Their future may be far brighter because of the divorce, but they may have a hard time looking at the matter in terms of anything other than loss for a period of time. Some will go through the same stages of grief that follow the loss of a loved one, and Colorado parents should be prepared for that series of events.

Faced with the news of a divorce, many kids will immediately go into a period of shock and disbelief. They might refuse to accept that their parents will soon be living separate lives and may think that the situation is only temporary. When they finally come to understand that the divorce is moving forward, they may become angry. This anger can be directed at parents and siblings, or can manifest as trouble with peers at school.

Once the anger has passed, the next stage is often a period of intense sadness, coupled with longing for the past. Kids can experience changes in their eating and sleeping patterns during this period of time and can also become withdrawn at school or home. Parents must make an effort to monitor their child's emotional state during this time, and they should be prepared to seek professional help if the situation begins to look like a case of depression.

Finally, kids will often move into a period of bargaining, where they will try to convince their parents that they will make changes in schoolwork or behavior if the family will remain intact. They should be reassured that divorce is an adult matter and has nothing to do with them or their actions. From that point, acceptance is the final stage of divorce and is often a welcome relief for Colorado parents. At this stage, kids can turn their focus on settling into the new routines associated with co-parenting, and they can look forward to the positives that come with a new family structure.

Source: The Huffington Post, "How A Divorce Is Like a Loss for Children: The 5 Stages", Ashley Tate Cooper, June 6, 2016

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