When Brian Sibley and Rachael Brownell sat down at their kitchen table to discuss getting a divorce
, they agreed on one thing: They wanted to minimize
the damage the split would do to their daughters.
布莱恩•西布利（Brian Sibley）和雷切尔•布劳内尔（Rachael Brownell）的婚姻走到尽头，二人坐在厨房桌边达成了一个共识：尽量减少离婚给女儿们造成的负面影响。
Mr. Sibley and Ms. Brownell, who had been married for six years, each went through their own parents' divorce
s at the age of 10 and had felt torn between two parents. The two agreed to spare the girls that experience by focusing on their needs.
They told the 4-year-old and the 7-year-old twins that they would all still be a family but that families don't always live together. 'We wanted to acknowledge
this is a heartbreak, and this is not how we saw things going, but we still love you,' says Ms. Brownell, a 43-year-old author from Bellingham, Wash. She recalls feeling lonely
and embarrassed and never discussing her parents' divorce
with them -- feelings she didn't want her own daughters to have to repeat.
'Children can absolutelythrive
after a divorce
, but it takes work' on the parents' part, says Christy Buchanan, professor of psychology
at Wake Forest University and co-author of 'Adolescents After Divorce.'
"就算父母离婚，孩子们也能健康成长，但需要父母多花些精力，"克里斯蒂•布坎南（Christy Buchanan）说。他是美国维克森林大学（Wake Forest University）心理学教授，也是《离婚家庭中的青少年》（Adolescents After Divorce）一书的作者之一。
of parents has been blamed for children's behavior
problems, poor grades in school and even trouble in their own romantic
relationships as adults. One study says the intensity
between parents is one of the best predictors of how kids will do after a divorce
There is some good news: The divorce
rate, which peaked around 1980, is at its lowest level since 1970. Still, some 1.1 million U.S. children, or 1.5%, lived with a parent who had divorce
d in the previous
year, according to the Census Bureau's Marital Events of Americans: 2009 survey.
Alicia Cashman, who is 45 and married, says she felt 'profound sadness' when she was 13 and her parents told her they were divorcing. She and her three siblings stayed with their father, a professor at a local community
college, because he had a flexible
She was surprised to find she missed her parents' arguments. 'There was something warm about the fighting, compared with the silence,' she recalls. But soon she realized something important: Both parents were still in her life every day. Her mother moved half a mile away and kept a key to the family house, popping in to bring dinner, clean, monitor
homework or make sure the kids were in bed. On holidays, she prepared big meals at the house for everyone
, even her ex-husband.
'It was important to have both parents,' says Ms. Cashman, a merchandiser for a greeting-card company in Carlsbad, Calif.
Five years after their divorce
, Ms. Cashman's parents remarried each other, divorcing a second time after seven years. 'Things can get better,' Ms. Cashman says. 'There is always the possibility
of reconnecting, as my parents continued to do throughout their relationship.'
Kevin Lee, a social worker
in Dartmouth, Mass., runs support groups for children of divorce
called the Banana Splits, one for kids in second and third grades, one for fourth and fifth grades. Each group meets for 90 minutes every other week for two 12-week sessions; high school kids who also are children of divorce
help out. Children are referred from local schools and area therapists.
凯文•李（Kevin Lee）是马萨诸塞州达特茅斯市(Dartmouth)的一名社工，负责针对离婚家庭儿童组织援助活动，这种活动有一个名字叫做"香蕉船"（Banana Splits）。其中一个小组针对的是二年级和三年级的孩子，另一个则是针对四年级和五年级的孩子。每个小组都是每两个星期聚会一次，每次聚会聊90分钟。活动分成两个阶段，每阶段12个星期。那些同样来自离婚家庭的高中生也参与进来帮忙。这些参加活动的孩子都是通过当地的学校和心理医生推荐的。
'Children come into the room and hear other kids talking and realize they are not alone,' Mr. Lee says.
Mary Ann Aronsohn, a Los Angeles marriage and family therapist, says parents should think of co-parenting as a business venture
and treat their ex-spouse as they would a colleague
or a client
. Would you yell at a client
, denigrate him to others or call him at home at all hours? Don't do it to your ex, either.
玛丽•安•阿伦森（Mary Ann Aronsohn）是洛杉矶的婚姻和家庭心理咨询师。她认为离婚后的夫妇应该把照顾孩子看作是一项事业，比如把对方当作是同事或客户来对待。你会对着客户大吼、当着别人的面诋毁他或是不分时候往他家打电话么？那么，也别对你前妻/夫这么做。
Ms. Aronsohn suggests divorcing couples create a parenting plan, detailing not only child-custody arrangements but also how to make joint parenting decisions.
It may include a 'short story' explaining to the children why the marriage ended -- 'We loved each other very much in the beginning
and hoped we could make a life together that would last forever, but we were wrong. You had no fault in this. While we will have different households, we think we will do a better job at being parents' -- and a 'mission statement' describing how they hope to behave.
'This gives kids the freedom to love both parents,' Ms. Aronsohn says.
Some divorcing parents agree to maintain
a child's routine
-- foods, mealtimes, story time, bedtime
-- in each household. They may record minutes of meetings with their therapist so they won't forget the things they have agreed on.
, they communicate
via email and address just one or two issues at a time. Family counselors remind
parents not to take what a child says as the gospel
Experts also advise
divorcing parents to say nice things about each other. 'It doesn't cost anything to say, 'Your dad has such a great sense of humor and your laugh is just like his and I love hearing
it,'' Ms. Aronsohn says.
Tell children you hope they have a good time with daddy this weekend
-- it frees them up to enjoy themselves and feel less conflict
your anger or your grief to your child. Communicate directly with your ex, not through the kids. Don't ask them to carry messages back and forth, even neutral
ones, like, 'Tell Mommy to pick you up at 6 p.m.' If the message makes Mom feel bad, the child will feel guilty
. With small children, a notebook
or log that travels back and forth with the child can help parents record and keep track of details.
Since their separation
two years ago, Ms. Brownell and Mr. Sibley have worked together. During a weekend
when their 6-year-old daughter was staying with Mr. Sibley, Ms. Brownell got a text from her ex saying
a children's parade
in town was starting soon, and the little girl wanted to dress up as either a dinosaur or a ballerina.
Ms. Brownell rummaged through her house looking for the costume
s, then rushed downtown
. She found her ex and her daughter just as the parade
was receding down the block. Both parents helped their daughter put on the dinosaur costume
, then ran with her to catch up with the others. They walked in the parade
, all three together. 'You could see her little, sunny face lit up with joy,' says Ms. Brownell. 'That was one of the best moments of my life.'