Divorce is a tough life decision. It can affect you mentally and physically. As a result, some individuals may sink into depression, while others find solace in substance abuse.
But have you ever thought about how divorce can affect kids? Some children react in an understanding and natural way, but some struggle with the transition. Some of the expected effects of separation for children include:
- Loss of interest in the social activity – Children whose family is going through this transition might have a more challenging time relating to others. Sometimes kids feel insecure, wondering why their parents are divorcing.
- Poor academic performance – The changing dynamics in the family can confuse and distract kids. Distraction makes them lose focus on their education.
- Irritability/Anger – Not every child will understand why their parents have to go separate ways. Children may feel overwhelmed and become irritable or angry.
- Engaging in destructive behavior– Unresolved conflicts can lead to unexpected future risks. For example, children who have gone through a divorce might become rebellious, violent, and participate in crimes.
These are a few possible effects a divorce can have on children. However, you can help your kids cope with stress and become better and tolerant young adults.
So how do you handle it?
Break the News
Children, too, deserve an explanation of why things are happening. You don’t wake up one day and ask your child to pack. This will send a sense of confusion; unless they’re too young to understand anything.
Although there is no sweeter or easier way to break the news, you need to do it anyway. If possible, both parents should participate in this conversation. Then, practice how you’ll manage to break the news to ensure you don’t get angry amidst the talk.
Before you ignite the divorce conversation, be ready to handle your child’s reaction. First, assure them that they’re not to blame for anything. It’s also prudent to remind children that they’ll forever be tied together, even when living separately.
Undoubtedly, children will react differently to divorce news. They might be young, but they have feelings too. So reassure them that getting upset or worried is pretty okay.
Take note that some kids might act okay but hide anger or sadness. In this case, you might notice some changes like withdrawal, poor academic performance, or loss of appetite.
Being an understanding parent is the best gift to your child. In case they ask questions, be honest with every single detail. When children feel guilty or scared, reassuring them of your love is the right thing to do.
Getting help for a successful divorce process by a reliable family law firm might ease the pressure. However, you’ll need support from those who have gone through it.
More so, getting help from a therapist, counselor, or religious leader can maintain a strong bond with your children. And avoid making your children a shoulder to lean on. It can be tempting, but let them know the kindness touches you.
Vent to a therapist or a friend.
The Bottom Line
Change of any kind is hard- for both parents and kids. Find your inner strength, strategy and courage to help your kids cope with the transition.