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How you talk to them about divorce — before, during, and after it happens — will make a big difference in how they cope over the long run.What they need most from you right now is reassurance and consistency in the routines they rely on. If you and your spouse are considering a separation or divorce, keep it to yourselves until you know for sure.But children will take this as a betrayal — or worse, criticism of them.

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You might start with "Mommy and Daddy have done a lot of thinking," then explain, for example, that Mommy is going to get a new apartment.

Your child might think the change is happening because he didn't clean his room or do well in school.

He might also assume some responsibility for trying to fix the problem.

While it may seem more honest to err on the side of full disclosure, the uncertainty of hearing "Dad and Mom are getting divorced" will unnecessarily confuse your child.

Susanna Cox of Abingdon, Virginia, mother of then-7-year-old Mikaela, kept mum until she knew the date when her ex would be leaving.

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