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What do your kids need when you and your spouse split up?

Kids in California often get the raw end of the deal when parents make the difficult decision to split up. Adults get all the say when their relationship is on the line, and the youngest ones in the family just have to go along for the ride. Somehow it does not seem fair, and your kids might tell you that if they are honest about what is going on in their heads and hearts.

So what can you do as a parent to help your children navigate when your marriage - their world - is disintegrating? KidsHealth - a site set up by the Center for Children's Health Media, a function of The Nemours Foundation - offers some advice.

The first thing KidsHealth points out is letting your kids talk. They should be able to express their feelings about what is happening in the home, even if those emotions are raw, negative and not so nice. Noting children "experience a sense of loss of family and may blame you or the other parent," KidsHealth stresses the importance of dialogue to help them process the loss they are feeling.

It is also important to keep your adult conflict between you and your spouse. If it is an argument between the two of you, the kids should not have to choose which of you they agree with most. Reducing the conflict they witness between you will help them make the adjustments they need to carry on well in relationship with both of you even when you are living separately.

Also, KidsHealth suggests, be sure to take care of yourselves. Your kids need you, but they need you at your best as much as possible, so take the time to refresh and find the support you need as well.

Note this does not intend to provide legal advice but rather to inform about the well-being of children during divorce. 

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