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Child custody matters may be confusing to toddler

During a divorce in Illinois, the kids are sometimes caught in the middle when their parents are battling over child custody. This is difficult for children at any age, but it can be uniquely challenging for a toddler. A few tips may help divorcing parents to prepare a toddler for the change to come while dealing with child custody issues.

First, it is important to describe to the toddler how the divorce will specifically impact him or her, as toddlers are literal, concrete creatures. For instance, a mother may explain that she and the child's father will live in their own houses and the child will get to live at both homes. It is also expedient to tell the child that this arrangement is permanent. The more detailed a parent can be about the child's new living situation, the more prepared he or she will feel.

It may also be beneficial to use language that is black and white when describing the divorce rather than sugar-coating the situation. A toddler does best when spoken to with simple, concrete language featuring a clear message. Explaining that the mother, dad and toddler will remain a family even after the split-up might confuse the child and give him or her false hope that his or her parents will live together again.

Even though divorce is understandably tough for adults going through it in Illinois, the process can be overwhelming for young children. Parents may strive to handle matters, such as those involving child custody, through divorce mediation or negotiation with the goal of achieving an outcome that is ultimately in the best interests of the child. If they are unable to accomplish this, a judge will make these important decisions for them.

Source: The Huffington Post, "5 Steps to Cover When Going Through a Divorce With a Toddler", Natasha Daniels, Sept. 30, 2015

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