During a divorce, one of your primary concerns as a parent will be your child’s adjustment to the new living arrangements. While some children sail through divorce with little difficulty, others may struggle long after the divorce is final. If your child is exhibiting new behaviors that are cause for concern, then here is how to tell if it may be necessary to visit a professional for support.
Signs a Child Is Struggling with Divorce
It is common for children to show some signs of distress during the divorce process; however these symptoms should clear up within a short period of time. If you notice that any of the symptoms described below are lingering or interfere with your child’s ability to function, then divorce counseling may be necessary.
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Separation anxiety
- Lack of interest in friends and normal activities
- Excessive lying
- Deteriorating school performance
- Refusal to comply with house rules
- Physical complaints with no obvious cause
- Potty training regression in younger children
- Risky or aggressive behaviors
- Overeating, skipping meals or excessive exercise
- Drug abuse
- Breaking laws
Children of Divorce
Divorce is one of the most stressful things adults and children experience. The severity of the effects of divorce on children depends on many issues. These include:
. Emotional attitudes of parents
. Financial situation
. Age of children
Emotional Attitudes of Parents
These are just a few of the issues to consider that affect children of divorce. The most significant issue is the emotional attitudes of parents. Some divorcing parents manage to maintain civility and mature attitudes throughout the divorce process. This is always the best environment for children of divorcing parents. When hostility between parents is obvious, even non-verbal hostility is observed by children. This often creates hurtful, fearful feelings for younger children.
Small children understand less about divorce and might not be able to communicate their fears as well as older children. The age a child is at when his or her parents divorce influences response and understanding. Here is a brief summary of what children comprehending the years before grade school and how parents can make the event less upsetting.
Babies can sense tension and may become petulant, anxious and have tantrums if it persists. Developmental delay or regressions might also occur in some cases. Maintain stability by:
- Sticking to a consistent schedule
- Doling out extra hugs, kisses and reassurances
- Providing access to security stuffies and favorite toys
- Asking trusted family and friends for help
- Getting lots of rest so you can be on your parenting game
Every year, parents of thousands of children get divorced. Divorces are hard on children, often making them question everything they know. Some children will not react right away, instead letting their stress out through other actions, such as not sleeping or misbehaving at school. You can assure children that their feelings are normal and valid, and tell them to talk with you at any time. But as stress builds, there are ways to mitigate it. Here are three tips for preventing and dealing with your child’s stress. Continue reading
Going through a divorce can be a stressful and emotional time for adults, but child can be equally effected. Parents often want what is best for their kids, and guiding them through the process can be one of the best ways to offer support when it is needed most. In order for children to really cope with a divorce, they need parents to help them understand the huge life change that they are experiencing. Continue reading
When you’re in the middle of a divorce, it might be hard to also tend to the emotional needs of your children. They are certainly going to feel the effects of the separation, especially if the divorce between you and your spouse is a tumultuous one.
There are some basic tips to keep in mind when relating to your children, and they are listed below. However, this article will also address the ways that you can seek outside assistance and it will provide some of those resources.
But first, you should remember the following:
1. Stay consistent with your children’s schedule as best you can. If you were driving them to school, do your best to keep it that way. The less interruptions children experience in their schedule the better. Continue reading
There are rare occasions when children need to take it upon themselves to get the care they need. Perhaps they feel as though their parents aren’t meeting emotional their needs, and this can be especially true for children whose parents are going through a divorce.
One way to begin to get the emotional and psychological care is to read. There are many books for children who are trying to navigate the tumultuous waters of divorce. The following a list of books for children to learn about divorce and how it might affect them.
A Heart With Two Homes by Epperson, Monica
Charlie Anderson by Abercrombie, Barbara
Taxi Taxi. Little Brown by Best, Cari Continue reading
Rejection is a painful experience that is hard to manage. It comes with uncomfortable feelings and painful thoughts, and it’s an experience that many members of the family might feel during the divorce between parents. Rejection might certainly be a feeling that each parent feels, and it can be experience felt by older children as well.
For the most part, children between infancy and the age of 4 years old, won’t feel rejection. Instead, what will impact them is change in their daily routine, if that takes place. Children at this age are developing in a way that requires regular schedules of eating, sleeping, and playing. A change in that routine can affect their development. Another primary contributor to a child’s development is their attachments to their parents. If there is a change in the frequency of time with one or both parents, that can also significantly affect a child. For instance, if a three year old sees mom everyday and then after the divorce only once per week, that could be significant.
Children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old will understand the concept of divorce. However, they will tend to think that the divorce has something to do with them. They might blame themselves or believe that they cause the fighting or that something they said prompted the separation. This isn’t an experience of rejection per se, but parents can ease by this letting their children know that they are not responsible for the divorce. Continue reading
Often when friends and family find out that a couple is getting a divorce, the first question asked is “What about the children?”
It’s true that children can feel the impact of the divorce in a strong way, perhaps because it’s often a surprise for them. Although the parents themselves might have been talking about it for awhile, attending couples counseling, and reviewing the health of their relationship, children don’t find out about their parents separation until the decision has been made. For this reason, the following tips are meant to help protect children during the challenging experience of a family separation.
1. Stay consistent. Children need stability to anchor them during times of stress and challenge. When parents are consistent in the way they relate to their children, including in the way they discipline and reward their children, it can keep life feeling familiar. Another way to stay consistent is to continue with the same schedules for bedtime, meals, and school. When life feels consistent, children feel safe. Continue reading
A splitting of the family is a big deal. Everyone involved has feelings. Everyone involved has thoughts and fears and anxieties that have to do with the divorce and what it’s going to look like when the divorce is final. What is it going to be like after the family has split?
Sure, these may be fears of the parents themselves, but it’s also a significant contributor to the children’s anxieties as well. Nonetheless, divorcing parents seem to get their children involved in the divorce in a way that’s often too intimate for them to bear. The following are five mistakes that parents make with their children when they are going through a divorce.
Making Your Children the Messenger
Often, divorcing parents do not know how to communicate with one another. They might have a strong need to say something to their spouse but can’t find the right time since communication can be limited. When parents are with their children, they might be tempted to use the opportunity to tell their children what they really want to say to their spouse. Or worse, they may use their children as messengers to tell the other parent what they want to say. Continue reading