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What divorced parents can do to help children adjust

When Illinois parents get a divorce, they can help or hinder their children's adjustment with certain actions. For example, parents should notice whether their children are depressed and may want to talk to their children's friends or teachers about how they are doing.

A relationship with the other parent should be encouraged. If the child is resistant to this relationship, the parent should discuss it with the child and attempt to resolve it. The parent should not make negative comments about the other parent in front of the child or attempt to convince the child of who was right in the divorce. Parents should also avoid using the child as a messenger or an informant of the other parent's actions. The child should not feel caught between the parents, and parents should avoid arguing in front of the children.

Parents should also not let themselves be manipulated by their children. This includes buying them gifts because they feel guilty about the divorce or easing up on household rules. In fact, it is important for parents to present children with a unified front. If parents do have a parenting disagreement, this should not be shared with children. Parents should also avoid turning to their children for emotional support. Children should be encouraged to go on with their lives after the divorce and to enjoy healthy distractions.

There are only a few circumstances in which a court might agree that a parent should not have access to a child or should be limited to supervised visitation, and those are cases in which the child's well-being is in danger. For example, one parent might be abusive or neglectful. Parents might want to produce documentation such as police reports to support these claims. If a parent disapproves of another parent's lifestyle, this is generally not reason enough to prevent access to the child.

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