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It is a brand-new year, and you might be one of many people in New Jersey who are going “all in” to create vision boards or resolutions and goals to help you be the best “you” possible in 2020 and beyond. Perhaps, you and your family will want to get together and share your ideas with each other. You might even set family-related goals in addition to your individual plans.

In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be any negative aspects to your circumstances as you build hopes and dreams for the unfolding new year. In reality, most families have trials and challenges, some far more difficult to overcome than others. If helping your children cope with divorce is part of your new year plan, this post may be of particular interest to you.

Allow them to freely express their feelings

The way you come to terms with divorce might be different than the way your children cope. As a parent, you are more mature and have a lot more life experience under your belt. Most children fare best when their parents divorce if they know they can talk about their emotions without worrying that a parent will get upset.

One of your kids might be angry, while another shows signs of behavior regression. A quiet child might get even quieter. There’s no right or wrong way to react to such news. However, by letting your kids know they can come to you to share their true feelings at any time, you give them coping skills to help them adapt to a new lifestyle in as healthy a manner as possible.

Encourage them to keep loving their other parent

You and your ex decided that you no longer wished to be in a marital relationship. Children, however, love both of their parents, and you can help them cope with these life changes by letting them know it’s okay to show that love and to talk about their other parent in your presence.

If there are extenuating issues that make the other parent’s presence a detriment to your children’s well-being, then your situation will likely be more challenging. It is helpful in such cases to reach out for additional coping support.

Try not to expose them to parental conflict

You and your ex undoubtedly do not see eye to eye on certain issues; otherwise, you might still be married. It’s definitely not uncommon for spouses to disagree, especially regarding important matters, such as child custody, property division or alimony. Keep in mind, however, that children can sense their parents’ stress levels.

If your kids constantly witness arguments between you and their other parent or hear one of you speaking negatively about the other, it might impede their ability to move on in life in a healthy, productive way.

You don’t have to go it alone

It’s understandable that you’d want to keep the details of your divorce private. Do not hesitate to reach out for support though, especially if you do not feel equipped to resolve a particular issue. Your community might have an active support group where parents or children of divorce can seek encouragement from others who can relate to their experiences.

Your children’s teachers, guidance counselors, faith leaders and others can also be on hand to help you and your kids adapt to your new lifestyle. Many New Jersey parents also find it helpful to stay closely connected to experienced legal advocates in case an issue arises that would require court intervention to resolve.