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Does Divorce Scar Kids for Life? 2

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Real Kids Sound Off About Divorce

We interviewed 7 kids, ranging in age from 6 to 19, to find out how they really feel when their parents decided to live separate lives. How did all the fighting and conflict leading up to the split affect them?

If you are currently going through a divorce or separation, Shannon Fox offers the following 5 tips to help your children cope:

1. Sit down with your spouse to talk to your children about the upcoming divorce. Give them as much information as you can about the new living situation, school, and schedule. Divorce is a scary change for children. It is pulling the rug of familial security and stability out from under them, so you need to assure them that there is a specific plan in place to help ease the transition.

2. Assure your child that they are not to blame. Children often blame themselves and feel overwhelming guilt and low self-esteem as a result. Encourage them to ask questions and express their emotions--all of them, sadness, anger, resentment, even rage.

3. Explain that you will never stop loving them. It makes sense to a child that if you could become angry enough with Daddy to divorce him, you could do the same to your children. Help them understand that there is a difference between grown-up love and the love a parent has for a child. Your child will always be family and you will always, always love them.

4. Resist the temptation to talk down about your ex. Your children have their own relationship with their father, don't taint it with your own pain and anger. If you try to destroy your child's image of her father to get back at him, you will only be harming your child. Keep your child out of it. Don't let them hear you argue with your ex, don't bring them into custody disputes, or mudslinging about his character.

5. Seek professional help for your child if they exhibit any of the following warning signs:
- excessive moodiness or sadness
- disinterest in favorite activities
- angry outbursts, fighting at school or with siblings, yelling at you or spouse
- sleep problems, nightmares, bed-wetting
- poor grades or concentration
- drug or alcohol use, promiscuity, or suicidal thoughts

Still married, but worried your marriage is in trouble? Shannon Fox offers five signs your marriage might be headed for divorce on page 3.

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