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Q&A: Divorce plans make me worrry for children

Q My husband and I are getting divorced and I am really worried about my children.

My nine-year-old son in particular is taking it very badly and has become withdrawn and anxious.

My husband and I are arguing a lot and although I've tried to ensure it doesn't happen in front of the children, sometimes it does. I know I've become more short-tempered with them too - which is not like me - and I'm sure this doesn't help but sometimes I get so stressed, it just happens.

My 13-year-old daughter seems to have accepted things better and she says a lot of her friends' parents are divorced. I know she still cries a lot though when she thinks no one will notice.

However my son keeps trying to do things to help and keeps making suggestions of things we can all do as a family.

There's too much anger between my husband and I at the moment to entertain that idea but I sometimes think it might help my son if we could. D. D.

A Separation is a worrying time for you and for your children and although you say you are more worried about your son, your daughter is clearly suffering too.

Younger children in particular, like your son, often believe that their parents' separation is in some way their fault. They try and find ways to bring the parents back together - something it sounds as if your son is trying to do. They need to be told and reassured repeatedly that the separation is not their fault.

They also need the reassurance from both parents that they are still loved and wanted: Whatever may have changed in the parents' relationship makes no difference to that.

There's a book called Helping Children Cope With Divorce by Rosemary Wells that I think you would find very helpful.

Published by Sheldon Press, it is available from them direct via their website www.sheldonpress.co.uk for £6.99 (€8.33) plus P&P or through bookshops.

PA Media