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Transitioning children into life after divorce

Many parents who are going through the divorce process are concerned about how their children will handle the transition. It can be an emotionally confusing process for children as parents walk the fine line between openly communicating with their children about what is going on and protecting them from being exposed to acrimony that may exist between the parents.

One novel approach to providing children a means of acknowledging the change that the family is undergoing, in a more controlled manner, is a divorce ceremony. A divorce ceremony is not a celebratory event like the 'divorce parties' that have recently become popular. But rather a way to establish the new structure that will make up the family for the child.

As in a wedding ceremony where a couple makes public their acceptance of their obligations to each other, a divorce ceremony may include a recitation by the parents of their ongoing role as parents and their love for their children. It can provide clarity for the children that while their parents' relationship with each other has changed, the relationship between the parent and child is still intact.

Of course, this type of ceremony may not make sense for every divorce in which a child is involved. But for children of a certain age and personality having a specific event which they can hold in their mind may help alleviate confusion. It may also sometimes feel to children that while the divorce is likely to have a significant impact on their daily lives they are largely kept out of the process. This creates an appropriate space and physical manifestation of the divorce which may be easier for children to understand.

Source: MSNBC, "Will divorce ceremonies make parents' split easier on kids?," April 25, 2012

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