More Ways Divorce Affects Children
How Your Divorce Could Impact Your Children – Part 2
Although it is a difficult decision to make, sometimes divorce is the best option for everyone concerned. But even though it may be the best decision, it can still have a big impact on your kids. Being aware of the effect of divorce on children can help you to be more prepared to deal with it.
When parents divorce, it is a loss for children. They may feel like they have lost one or even both of their parents. This can be a very confusing and difficult time for kids. They may feel scared, alone, or even abandoned.
It is important to remember that this is a grieving process for children. Just like with any other loss, they need time to mourn. Give them the space to express their feelings, but also reassure them that you are still there for them.
If possible, try to keep some things the same in their lives as they adjust to the news. For example, if they usually have breakfast with their dad before school, try to keep that routine the same. Maintaining a sense of familiarity – no matter how small – can help them to feel more secure during this time of rapid change.
Feelings of Guilt and Shame
Children of divorced parents may also feel guilty or ashamed. They may think that they caused the divorce or that they could have done something to prevent it. This is especially likely if the divorce is turbulent and if they witness their parents in emotionally fragile states.
If not addressed properly, these feelings can lead to life-long struggles with self-esteem. Divorce can be traumatic for children, and they need extra support to deal with these feelings.
While it can be difficult to talk about, it is essential to reassure your children that they are not responsible for the situation. Explain that sometimes grown-ups just fall out of love, and it has nothing to do with them. Both of their parents love them very much, and that will never change.
Additionally, try to avoid speaking negatively about the child’s other parent. Children often struggle to separate their identity from their parents, and an attack on your ex-spouse can feel like an attack on them as well. This can contribute to feelings of guilt or shame and further damage their self-esteem. If circumstances require you to explain something that the other parent has done, try to do so in a matter-of-fact way without putting them down.
Changes in Family Life
The drastic changes that divorce brings to a child’s day-to-day life are perhaps the most difficult to deal with. These may include:
- Moving to a new home
- Attending a different school
- Spending less time with one of their parents
- Different holiday or birthday arrangements
- A new financial situation
No matter what your parenting plan looks like, your child’s life will never look the same. All of these changes can be very unsettling for kids. They may feel like they are constantly being uprooted and have little agency over what happens to them.
These challenges can be particularly pronounced if the divorce has led to financial issues. Money troubles can mean more stress for parents, which can trickle down to the children. They may have to give up activities or possessions that they love or go without things that they need.
Fortunately, there are some ways to make the transition easier for your child. If possible, allow them to get involved in the decision-making process, even if it’s as simple as choosing their new bedroom after a move. This will help to reduce feelings of powerlessness.
It is also important to talk to your children about the changes that are happening. Help them to understand why things have to be different and what they can expect in the future. If you’re making financial sacrifices, let them know why it’s important and how it will help the family in the long run. Answering their questions honestly will help to quell any fears or worries that they may have.
Adjusting to a New Normal
The divorce process can take months or even years, even if you have a skilled divorce lawyer on your side. And even after the legalities are finalized, the emotions often linger. It can take a long time for children to adjust to their new reality.
During this period, it is normal for kids to act out or regress in their behavior. They may start wetting the bed, having tantrums, or acting out in school. This is their way of trying to cope with the stress and confusion that they are feeling.
Be patient with your children during this time. They are going through a lot, and they need your love and support. Try to create a stable routine for them, even if everything else in their lives is in flux.
As your children begin to heal, they will slowly start to return to their usual selves. However, the divorce will always be a part of their lives. It is important to talk to your children about their feelings and allow them to express themselves openly.
If you find that your children are struggling to cope, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A therapist can provide them with the tools that they need to deal with their emotions in a healthy way.
Greater Risk of Health Issues
As time progresses and the divorce simply becomes an event of the past, your child might seem well-adjusted on the surface. While many children of divorce do eventually bounce back, some will continue to struggle, and it could go under your radar.
Research has shown that children of divorced parents are at a greater risk for developing mental and physical health issues including:
- Antisocial behavior
- Poor impulse control
- Substance use
- Frequent headaches or stomach pains
Trauma has a tendency to follow people, so some of these issues may not manifest until later in life. This is why it is important to stay attuned to your child’s mental and emotional well-being even as they grow older.
If you notice that your child is struggling, reach out for help. There are many resources available to families dealing with divorce. With the right support, your child can overcome any challenges that they may face.
While divorce has many potential negative impacts on children, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. With the right support, children can learn to cope with the changes in their lives and eventually thrive. Divorce can even be a positive experience for children, particularly if they witness positive changes in their parents’ moods or if it gets them away from an abusive parent.
Remember that children are often more resilient than we give them credit for. They have the ability to adapt and overcome, but they need your help to get through this tough time.
However, to help your children, you first need to take care of yourself. This may involve working with a divorce lawyer. By allowing a professional to handle the legalities of your divorce, you can focus on taking care of yourself and your children. Contact the Law Office of Kelly Berton Rocco at 201-343-0078 to begin working with a trusted Hackensack family law attorney today.