Children look to their parents for stability, routine, and love. When the parents’ marriage breaks down, children react to this sudden change in their family structure in numerous ways. Parents who want to help their children through this change and continue to provide the love and support their kids desire should first learn what children experience during divorce.
Blame and Guilt
When kids first learn that their parents are getting divorced, they often blame themselves and wonder if they have done something to cause the break up of the marriage. They may think that because they disobeyed or failed to clean up their room that they somehow contributed to the divorce.
When they have convinced themselves that they are to blame, at least to some degree, children may also feel guilty. They may think that if they had just behaved better or somehow acted differently that their parents may still want to be together.
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
The teen years are tough enough without going through a major trauma, so it is important to recognize the impact divorce can have on a teenager when the storm hits. Here are a few ways to help your teen cope with the divorce of their parents.
Understand that a teenager needs time to process what is going on and will have a full range of emotions to go through. Be patient and allow them the opportunity to express themselves. Give them the flexibility of swinging from one emotion to another as they figure out how to deal with their new reality with the assurance that they are loved unconditionally. Continue reading
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
Sometimes we don’t have the words for what we are feeling. And other times there is so much emotional turmoil that we can’t think straight. Having books that express what we need to say but can’t can be incredibly helpful. Reading the words of others who have been through what we’re going through now can be immensely therapeutic.
The following list of books might be useful for parents who are going through a divorce. They offer not only personal support but also support in parenting children during such a tumultuous time. 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
If you’re parents are going through a divorce, then at some point they may come to you to have the “Divorce Talk”. It’s the conversation in which they tell you that they are going to separate and the family is going to split up. It’s not an easy conversation by any means. Even if you’re an only child, it’s a difficult conversation to be in. This article will provide some ways to make it through that conversation – whether you’re with one parent, both, or with the entire family.
Perhaps for some children this might come as a complete surprise. You might not have seen it coming at all. Perhaps your parents were really good at keeping their arguments to themselves, which they did no doubt, for your sake. Perhaps your parents were really good at keeping their true feelings to themselves.
And for others of you, you knew it was coming. You knew it was going to happen; you just didn’t know when. Perhaps you heard your parents arguing. You noticed that they never spend time together and never hugged. You noticed that there is often a thick wall of non-communication between them, except when it came to you or the bills or taxes. So, you’ve been expecting it. 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