No two children are exactly alike and due to their personality, age differences, and the relationships they have with each parent divorce will have different affects on them. As difficult at it may be, letting your children know what’s around the corner due to the divorce is very important.
During and after divorce it is important to eliminate as much anxiety for them as possible. They are going to have their good days and bad and by keeping the lines of communication open they will feel safe to come to you for support and to share their feelings. Even if things seem to be okay you should take some quiet time to talk with your children to see how they are coping with the changes.
It is important to understand that children who are victims of divorce may need outside support. They don’t always feel safe or have the desire to confide in their parents. They may have mixed feelings about what is going on or be angry. Many turn to talking to their peers whom have gone through divorce. They may also confide in other adults such as a school counselor or family member.
If your children do confide in someone else, don’t take it personal, instead be relieved that they are reaching out and getting help. Divorce is very difficult and counseling is an effective tool for managing what they are going through.
Children need a great deal of support when a divorce is taking place. Surround them with resources to choose from and talk to them about additional help they may need. If they don’t have someone to talk to or they aren’t ready to open up to you then see if they are interested in seeing a professional counselor. The point is to give them an outlet to deal with what is going on in their life at this time. If you have more than one child it is likely that they will have different needs so stay in tune to the. It is important to remember that they will need this support long after the divorce has concluded. Just like with divorcing parents, their feelings don’t get turned off when the divorce is finalized.
Parents worry when going through divorce on how it will affect their children. In the midst of the chaos, hurt and pain it is hard to put one’s emotions to the side and focus on what the children need but parents should make it a priority to do so.
Divorce does have an effect on children no matter what age they are. Infants seem to be able to adjust well but they do react to the change in mood from their parents and it can upset them.
The older the children the more they understand and struggle with the change. They often have feelings of guilt and many blame themselves for the divorce. They think if they would have eaten all their dinner, cleaned their room, or didn’t bicker with their siblings that mom and dad would still be together. They also experience anger, depression, and fear.
Fear of being alone or of abandonment is common among school age children. They might hold on to their special blanket a bit longer or start wetting the bed. Children at this age have a hard time dealing with their feelings. Sometimes they even feel that they must choose sides.
Children that are in their teens have a better understanding of what is happening yet they still go through many of the emotions that younger children do. Often times teens are expected to step up into adulthood before they are ready and take on more of the responsibility around the home. Teens might feel emotions like anger, depression, resentment and embarrassment.
The key to dealing with children and divorce is for both parents to stay active in their lives. They need to love them, support them, and show that they care. Children need to feel accepted and loved by their parents whether they are divorced or not.
Never put your children in the middle and protect them from any disagreements. They should never hear you bad mouthing your partner or fighting. Discussing the situation with older children and letting them know what involvement each parent will have is also very important. You might not love your ex anymore but chances are your children do.
Try not to change too many things around; if you can keep them in the same house, school, neighborhood, or child care you should. Let them hang with friends and family that they normally do. It is hard enough dealing without the divorce you don’t want to totally shock them by changing everything else in their lives.