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Pragmatic parenting advice for the single parent

For many couples in Georgia with children, divorce may be an inevitable consequence of a struggling marriage. A divorce can be just as emotionally traumatic on the children as on the parents. This is why courts normally consider the best interests of the child when awarding custody and considering parenting plans.

To ease the conflict that children experience when parents split up, a leading child psychologist reminds parents of three things to keep in mind during a divorce and beyond. The three things in general are stability, positive reinforcement and respect for the other parent.

Stability is important for children in a divorce situation. The divorce itself will be a form of upheaval for children as well as parents, and it may be especially hard on children. Therefore, the psychologist recommends retaining some form of stability for other facets of the child's life. This could include keeping the child in the same school, if at all possible, and helping the child retain his or her circle of friends.

Positive reinforcement also plays a strong role in the emotional stability of the child. Many parents fail to realize that a child may blame himself or herself for the divorce. Often, the child will not verbalize this inner guilt. In these situations, the parents should be proactive in reminding the child that the divorce is not the fault of the child.

Finally, the psychologist stresses in strong terms the importance of treating the other parent with respect and not speaking with contempt about the other parent in the child's presence. This is an action that can have bad consequences down the road. If the other parent engages in such conduct, the best course of action is to not stoop to that level.

For more advice on child rearing during and after a divorce, a family law attorney may help a divorcing parent identify the best course of action. The attorney may also be able to help with custody and child support matters.

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