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Reconciliation a lesson for kids, experts say

The primary goal of a divorce often is to protect the children. Parents, however, need to think about protecting their children and their emotions even more when they call off a divorce from their spouse.

The news that the wife of basketball star Kobe Bryant has not signed her divorce papers and perhaps might reconcile with her husband has started the conversation. It's a cautionary tale for residents of Texas and all around the U.S. who are considering calling off a divorce or remarrying a former spouse.

Children whose parents divorce and remarry, or even file for divorce and reconcile, can become confused about just what is happening in their family. In the case of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant, they have two daughters of elementary-school age. It's important that their feelings are considered and addressed.

Many studies have shown the effect that a divorce has on kids, including a greater chance that they will divorce themselves. It is not believed that there has been a study to address the effects that reconciliation has on kids.

One expert said that if the Bryants get back together for the children, they could be making a mistake. Children can sense if the parents are not sincere, one said, adding that children need to feel secure. Parents should address their reconciliation in a conversation appropriate for the children's ages. Then they must stay committed to trying to make the marriage work. Children will sense if the parents themselves are waffling on the decision or if they are confused in any way, the expert said.

Another expert said the Bryants could set a powerful example for their daughters. The children, the expert said, can show their children that it is possible to overcome differences with someone else and work out problems in a relationship. They also could show their children that relationships require work, setting an example as to how their girls can successfully navigate future relationships.

Source: Huffington Post, "Kobe Bryant Divorce: How Will A Reported Reconciliation Affect The Bryants' Kids?" Natasha Burton, June 13, 2012

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