Q • My husband and I have decided to get a divorce. We have two children, ages 6 and 9. I'm really concerned about how this is going to affect them, especially with the holidays so close. Are there things we can do to help them through this process?
From a reader • My best friend went through a divorce when her kids were around this age, and it was hard for them to handle it, especially the younger one. She was close to her dad and couldn't grasp the reason he no longer lived with them. The parents decided to get a joint custody where the kids saw their dad a couple of times during the week as well as at least one day on the weekends. It seemed to make things a little easier. Having a shared custody might be a good option for you if it can be worked out. — Shelly L. in Phoenix
From Jodie Lynn • As we all know, divorce can be hard on the kids at any age and at any time.
Because the holidays can certainly be challenging anyway, moving toward a divorce close to them will most likely present a whole new set of concerns.
The holidays are supposed to be a time for families to come together in many ways but especially with kindness, thoughtfulness, love, fond memories and building family traditions.
However, let's face it: we know that it's not all fun, games and happiness for everyone.
But with a divorce lurking right before or around the corner from them will add additional headaches and mixed emotions for not only the kids, but close friends and other family members, and yourself as well.
We do a lot for our kids but if it could be postponed a few months, it might be for the best.
Nevertheless, if it's something you have both agreed on, one of the most important things to do is for you both to strive for an amicable divorce where the kids get to see their dad as frequently as possible during this potentially stressful time.
I agree with the above advice in that a joint custody situation could very well make things less complicated, at least where the kids are involved.
If the two of you can come up with an agreement to not talk badly about the other in front of the kids, as well as no finger pointing or blaming, there's no reason why they can't have a good relationship with you both.
This may take a lot of discipline for the two of you, but try to keep in mind that while you're not going to be together as a family unit, the kids need to feel loved at all times.
CAN YOU HELP?
What's the best way to help my 12-month-old stop hitting the dog with her toys? She thinks it's funny, but he doesn't like it at all. He's never tried to bite her, but I'm afraid that he might if she doesn't stop. It doesn't help matters when her dad starts laughing.