Five Mistakes Divorcing Parents Make With Their Children

Divorce Advice | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comA 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

Letting Your Family Heal After Divorce

Divorce | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comAfter it’s all said and done, there’s some healing to do. After the divorce is final and the separation has taken place, there is a significant part of life that needs tending – the emotional life. After a family has been split in two, it needs to find its way again. Both children and parents need some healing.

This article will address some ways that a family can heal together – even if it’s a part of the family. It will provide some ideas to work with in order to bring love back into what might have been a difficult situation. Now that the chaos is over, you can bring healing to yourself and your children with these suggestions: Continue reading

Children of Wealthy Families Are More Affected By Divorce

Child Development | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comAccording to an article published in TIME magazine based upon a recent study, children of wealthy families tend to have greater behavior problems than children of poor families who also experience divorce. However, the study also found that wealthier children benefit more from being integrated into stepfamilies than poorer children do. The study was originally published in the journal titled Child Development.

The study also revealed that the negative impacts of divorce was most true for children between the ages of 3 to 5 years old. Developmental psychologists have known that the age of children during a divorce indicates the level of reaction they may have to a parental separation. The most vulnerable stage for children is ages 3-5 years old. Certainly, divorce can have significant impacts on the children of the family. However, those influences depend on the age(s) of the children, and they are far more significant if children are between the age of 3 and 5 years old. Continue reading

The Basics of Child Support During Parental Divorce

Divorce | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comIf you’re a child or a teen whose parents are going through a divorce, you might have fears that you won’t be taken care of. You might worry that your basic needs won’t be met if you’re no longer living with one of your parents. But the truth is that both parents are legally responsible for taking good care of you and meeting your needs.

In fact, when a couple goes through a legal divorce, one or both of them are required to pay child support in the form of a monthly financial stipend. According to the Judicial Branch of the California State Government:

Child support is the amount of money that a court orders a parent or both parents to pay every month to help pay for the support of the child (or children) and the child’s living expenses. Continue reading

Try Art Therapy As a Way To Work Through Your Parents’ Divorce

Art Therapy | DivorceAdviceforChildren.comIf your parents are going through a divorce, there’s a good chance that it’s taking its toll on you. There’s a good chance that you’re feeling many emotions like anger, frustration, sadness, confusion, or fear. Sometimes it’s difficult to have to manage all these emotions, and it can be even more difficult to find a way to express them in words.

Art therapy is a tool you can use to work through your emotions. It’s a form of therapy that works with the images in your mind. At times, when the mind and heart is inflicted by heavy emotions and challenging thoughts, art is a way to easily and safely express what’s going on inside. Along with emotions and thoughts that are difficult to bear, you might even have images that show up in your mind. For example, you might have an image of what it might be like after your parents’ divorce, such as living with your father and what that might be like. Or you might have an image of living far from your friends, and this image might invoke sadness or anxiety. Continue reading

Figuring Out Child Visitation During the Process of Divorce

Divorce | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comWhen there are children involved in a divorce, care for those children must continue despite the split between parents. If individuals cannot agree on when and how their children will be cared for, it is sometimes agreed upon during the legal proceedings. For instance, a parent who is working full time may only be able to care for his or her children on the weekends and on holidays. Perhaps the other parent has the children during the week.

However, establishing this schedule and maintaining it might be a point of tension between divorcing parents. There are many resources available online for parents who have trouble with the child visitation schedule. For instance, the online child custody calendar can be an easy way to keep track of visitation schedules, custody arrangements, and child support payments. Continue reading

Divorce May Impact Girls More Than Boys

Divorce | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comGirls tend to define themselves through relationships, connection to others, and bonds with friends and family. When divorce between their parents takes place, the structure of a family, a structure they’ve known throughout their lives is disrupted and an internal structure for that young girl is also at risk for breaking down. It’s important for all children to have structure. When the foundation of a family is threatened, the psychological and emotional well being of a child can also be threatened. In this way, divorce can lead to intense emotions of loss, depression, sadness, anger, and resentment. For girls, specifically, there can be a special kind of emotional and psychological reaction to the divorce between parents. For instance, some girls tend to be socialized by their mothers and therefore tend to be more obedient and responsible than boys. Of course, not all girls have these traits; however, for those who have been significantly influenced by their mothers, they may take after their mothers in many ways and side with their mother during the separation. Girls might keep their emotions to themselves. They might conceal how they are really feeling in order to tend to their mother’s adjustment to the change and make the appearance that everything is all right. Continue reading

A Want List from Children of Divorcing Parents

Parental Divorce | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comWhen parents separate or go through a divorce, it might feel like uncharted territory. It might feel like you’re not sure what to say to your children because of anger, shame, resentment, and frustration that surrounds your relationship with your spouse.

However, the absence of your comforting words and support can make children feel like the divorce is their fault. It’s important that throughout the tumultuousness of the change, you help your children feel loved, support, and wanted. Because otherwise, they’ll feel unloved, unsupported, and unwanted.

In fact, the University of Missouri did a survey of children experiencing parental divorce. Based upon their responses, researchers developed the following want list from children of divorcing parents: Continue reading

Kids: Here’s How To Cope with Anxiety and Depression During Divorce

Anxiety and Depression | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comIf you’re parents are going through a divorce, you might be having a difficult time. You might be feeling how this could significantly affect your life. Instead of having a family unit that’s together and close and working as one, you might feel the split and separation of your parents breaking apart.

The following are some basic suggestions that might be useful. It’s hard because as children you’re the ones who need the protection, love, and security of having a family. And yet, your parents might not be able to provide that for you. Your parents might be too caught up in their own feelings to be able to ensure that you’re feeling safe in the middle of the chaos. Continue reading

Supporting Your Child Through Grief During Divorce

It’s important for all children to have structure. When the foundation of a family is threatened, the psychological and emotional well being of children can also be threatened. Divorce can lead to intense emotions of loss, depression, sadness, anger, and resentment.

Research shows that children who experience a divorce suffer in their self-esteem, academic performance, peer relationships, behavior, and physical health. It might be obvious that mental health issues also begin to surface such as anxiety and depression. Furthermore, the instability of the family structure might lead to drug experimentation and using substances as a way to cope with difficult feelings.

These challenging emotions might include embarrassment, fear of abandonment, grief, worry about the parents’ well being, anxiety about divided loyalties, and an irrational optimism for reconciliation.

Elisabeth Kübler Ross | DivorceAdviceForChildren.comWhen addressing the concerns of children, many people who have had any experience with grief counseling likely have heard of the psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kubler Ross. She developed five distinct stages to the grieving process based on her long-time work with her own clients. These stages form the acronym DABDA for easy recollection in their order. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Initially, she formulated these stages as a result of observing adults suffering from a terminal illness. Later, she found that her theory also applied to anyone who has experienced a major loss, such as a death of a loved one, loss of a job or income, divorce, drug addiction, incarceration, or other losses, even minor ones.

These stages are:

  1. Denial – The first stage is a sort of defense mechanism that helps with managing the shock of the event. The one who is grieving will often completely disregard of the event or loss. Thoughts might include, “I feel fine,” or “This is not happening to me.” There is a tendency to block out any signs that point to the fact that the event took place. Ignoring the event is a way to handle the intensity of the loss.
  2. Anger – Moving into the second stage indicates that the reality of the event is beginning to have its impact. However, anger arises from an inability to accept the loss. Intense emotions develop as a result, leaving the griever feeling vulnerable, overwhelmed with feelings that he or she cannot manage, and helpless. The result is anger that gets directed at close relatives, family members, strangers, and even inanimate objects.
  3. Bargaining – As the feeling of helplessness continues, an individual who is grieving will attempt to regain control by bargaining with a higher power. Thoughts such as, “If only I had sought medical attention sooner,” or “If only I were a better person”. This stage is a move closer to accepting the loss, but the painful emotions remain.
  4. Depression – The intense feelings that have accompanied the loss finally settle in. This stage might include intense crying, isolation, and withdrawal. Although it might be tempting to try to cheer up anyone who is grieving, the better support is to provide the space they need. It is important that the emotions that arise, which might include sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty are actually felt. Finally feeling these emotions is a way of accepting the loss.
  5. Acceptance – The last stage is an experience of finally coming to terms with the loss. A thought that might accompany this stage is “It’s going to be okay.”

 

You can remember these stages in their order by using the acronym DABDA. Sharing these stages with your children is a way to help him or her move through a process of grieving. Furthermore, knowing what these stages are can help children fully resolve each stage rather than getting stuck in a particular phase, such as anger. Regardless of the nature of the loss, it helps to have a map of the challenging road that grieving presents.