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Divorce and the importance of being realistic

Every relationship requires both parties to be willing to compromise, understand, trust and forgive. These actions are especially important in a marriage where both spouses must meter their own personal needs, wants and desires with those of a spouse.

For some couples, marital problems grow and intensify to the point where divorce becomes the best option. However, while parents may agree they no longer want to remain married, it's likely shared children will not share this same view.

Divorcing parents have the difficult task of continuing to parent while also attempting to deal with their own heartache and pain and that of their children. Many divorcing parents feel a tremendous amount of guilt and may overcompensate with gifts or special outings as a way to distract a child and make him or her happy. While there's nothing wrong with showing a child extra love and attention during this difficult time, it's also important to allow a child to grieve and experience the divorce in his or her own way as parents attempt to agree on child custody terms.

One of the most important things divorcing parents can do to help their children is to remain in control and maintain a civil relationship with an ex-spouse. While difficult, divorcing parents must still communicate about topics related to child-rearing. When doing so, divorcing parents must find a way to set aside many of the problems that likely precipitated a divorce for the sake of shared children.

Divorcing parents must also be realistic about the divorce process and the possible unforeseen implications of their decision. Yes, an individual may no longer have to put up with an ex's annoying or destructive habits directly, but divorce often brings a host of other problems that must be dealt with accordingly. In addition to issues related to child-rearing; financial struggles, a change in living arrangements and the introduction of a new love interest into a situation are all commonly experienced and stressful issues faced by many in the wake of a divorce.

While it's important to remain positive and operate with the belief that the decision to divorce was for the best, it's also important to be realistic. Parents would be wise not to ignore the fact that the divorce process is difficult and painful, particularly for children. Divorce also, however, presents an opportunity to work through painful emotions and issues and work towards a happier future.

Source: The Huffington Post, "5 Inconvenient Truths About Divorcing With Children," rebecca Bitton, April 30, 2014

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