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Are You a Victim of Parental Alienation?Your children are some of the most important people in your life. Their happiness, safety, and security are often placed well above your own. During a divorce, some parents may be overwhelmed with emotions that they may not know what to do with. If the divorce is especially contentious, parents may begin to lose sight of what is truly important – the children. In these situations, the parents’ hate and contempt for each other overshadows their love for their children, and certain actions are taken that can be detrimental to the children’s wellbeing. One of the most common things that happens during these kinds of divorces is called parental alienation.

What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation happens when one parent tries to get their child to turn against the other parent. This often occurs because one parent is mad at the other parent and is trying to hurt them in any way they can. Essentially, parental alienation is when one parent uses their child as a weapon against the other parent. The alienating parent may use bribery, false allegations, negative comments or keeping the child from seeing the other parent to paint a negative picture in the child’s head of that parent. Both mothers and fathers are equally as likely to be the alienating parent, but the alienating parent is also likely to suffer from a personality disorder, such as narcissism.

Parental alienation is detrimental to a child’s mental health and wellbeing. Children who are victims of parental alienation become almost brainwashed, hating the alienated parent in an almost irrational way. Children have the right to have a relationship with both of their parents – they naturally want to have a relationship with both parents. When one parent destroys that relationship with the other parent, the child suffers.

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Helping Your Child Cope With the Stresses of Your DivorceDivorcing is never easy and is even more difficult when you have children to worry about. Most divorcing parents’ number one concern during divorce is how their children will deal with the news that Mom and Dad are no longer together. While some children are able to accept the divorce and adapt to the life changes that come with the situation, other children may need a little more guidance and attention during the transitory period following the divorce. Just like adults, no two children are the same, so a one-size-fits-all approach does not work. Still, many children of divorce go through issues that are similar to each other. Here are a couple of tips to help your child cope with the stress of your divorce:

  1. Do Not Overshare: There is a fine line between what is appropriate to share with your children during a divorce and what is not. What you tell your child should be based on their age and maturity level but also on how appropriate the information is. Your child does not need to know if their parent had an affair with another person. Your child should mostly just know about changes in their living arrangements, schools or parenting time – not the messy details.
  2. Make Sure They Know It Is Not Their Fault: It is common for children to believe that they are somehow at fault for the divorce. You should be sure to clearly explain to your children that the divorce is a parent issue, not a child issue. Reassurance can be key here – try to periodically reassure your child that both you and your co-parent still love them very much, even though you are no longer married to each other.
  3. Maintain a Sense of Stability: Divorce is a time of great change, which can really throw some children off. Many children are flexible and can adapt to change, but several changes at once can be hard for anyone. To help alleviate some of this stress, try to maintain as much of a sense of stability as possible, especially during the divorce process. Keeping parenting time schedules consistent and routines the same in both households can help your child feel safe and secure.

A Will County Divorce Lawyer Can Help

Children can be some of the most affected family members during a divorce. Depending on their age and maturity level, they may not completely understand what is going on, which can make things difficult. If you and your spouse are planning on getting a divorce, you should talk to a skilled and compassionate Homewood, IL, divorce attorney. At The Foray Firm, we know that everyone in the family is affected by divorce, though children can be especially vulnerable. Call our office at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation today.

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4 Ways Staying in a Bad Marriage Can Affect Your ChildrenWhen it comes to making the decision to get a divorce, one of the biggest reasons couples hesitate to begin the process is because of their children. A rather common question that couples have when deciding whether or not to get a divorce is, “How will it affect the children?” While there is no one specific way divorce affects children, it is known that children can and will bounce back after their parents get divorced. Many couples think that staying together for the children is the best option, but it is, in fact, the opposite. Here are a few ways that staying in a bad marriage can have a negative effect on your children:

  1. Your Kids Can Develop Low Self-Esteem: Children absorb everything around them. When they are living in a household where mom and dad are fighting all of the time, they may begin to feel unsure of themselves or even rejected. Children will internalize their emotions, and constant fighting can cause them to develop feelings of unworthiness.
  2. Your Kids Will Be Living with Chronic Tension: If you can feel the tension between you and your spouse, your children can feel it too. Subjecting a child to a home that is filled with chronic tension is never a good idea. Children will begin to feel uneasy in their own homes and will walk on eggshells around their parents to try to prevent any more fighting.
  3. They Can Develop Intimacy Issues: Children who come from unhappy homes can also have issues in their own relationships when they get older. They saw how their parents interacted as they were growing up, so they tend to steer clear of any type of intimacy because they fear they will be hurt. Even when they do enter into an intimate relationship, they tend to remain reserved, cautious or guarded.
  4. They Can Develop Mood or Behavioral Issues: Many children whose parents are constantly bickering or fighting tend to develop mood or behavioral issues. Children who come from households full of tension tend to struggle with problems such as dysthymia, depression, anxiety or even personality disorders or substance abuse. These children may also have behavioral issues, such as difficulty managing their anger.

A Homewood, IL, Divorce Attorney Can Answer Any Questions You May Have

It is no secret that a divorce can be tough on everyone in the family, especially the children. As a parent, you have a responsibility to protect and care for your children. In some cases, getting a divorce may do just that. Though it may be rough for a little while, your children will be happier and healthier in the long run. If you have questions about the divorce process or how to get started, contact The Foray Firm. Our skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys can answer any questions you may have about the process. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to set up a consultation.

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Homewood divorce attorney child issuesDivorcing with children is difficult for many different reasons. In addition to typical divorce issues like property division and spousal support, couples with children also have other issues to settle, such as who the children will reside with and when, who will pay child support, and who will be able to make certain kinds of decisions about raising the children. Once you have decided that you and your spouse are getting a divorce, you must then take on the sometimes daunting task of telling your children about the upcoming change in your family’s life. Here are three tips to help you break the news to your children:

1. Tell the Entire Family All at Once

One important thing to aim for is making sure you discuss your divorce with all of your children at the same time. It is often the case that parents tell the oldest child first and then shelter the younger ones in an attempt to protect them. While this may seem wise, it is unfair to the older child to have to keep that secret, and it is sending the wrong message to the younger children that they cannot handle the situation.

2. Keep it Short and Sweet

For the most part, you want to make sure you keep your message as simple and easy to understand as possible. For younger children, use phrases like, “Mommy and Daddy have decided that we do not want to stay married anymore,” and “We will not be living together anymore, but we both love you very much.” Older children will require a little bit more information, but you should still try to keep the messy details out of your explanation while making sure they understand that they are not to blame.

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