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Helping your kids value family after divorce

Many divorcing parents are concerned that the break-up of their marriages will sour their children's view of family. They may be concerned that their kids won't want to get married and start families of their own because of what they experienced. However, you can provide your children with the joys of family even when theirs is no longer living under one roof.

Much has been written about the importance of family meals. Even for families where the parents live together, long work hours and extracurricular activities can make sitting down at the table for a meal together challenging.

Research has shown that when families eat together, no matter what meal, kids improve their academic performance, vocabulary and eating habits. Mealtimes spent together can also foster a positive outlook on family.

It can be particularly challenging for divorced parents to find time to prepare a meal and get their kids to sit down, put their phones away and interact. However, it's particularly important for these parents to give their children this small event that they can count on when so much in their lives has changed. Regular meals with the kids, even if they're possible only a few days a week, give parents a chance to watch them individually and as they interact together and gauge how they're doing with their new normal.

One casualty of divorce is too often children's relationships with grandchildren and other family members on both sides of the family. Already tense relationships with in-laws can be exacerbated when a couple is no longer together.

However, it's important for kids to continue these relationships, as long as they aren't harmful or in-laws aren't berating their other parent. A positive relationship with your co-parents family should be supported. Just as your children should feel free to share things they do with their other parent, you should encourage them to talk about their time with their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

Of course, events where both sides of the family are included, such as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, can build an appreciation for family in your kids. That's assuming that these gatherings can be pleasant and not fraught with anger or tension.

Your Arizona family law attorney can help you work to develop a parenting plan with your spouse that will help maintain a strong family foundation for your children.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "How to Foster a Positive Outlook on Family in Your Child," accessed Jan. 30, 2018

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