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.
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
Divorce is one of the most difficult experiences a family can go through. This is especially true if there are children involved.It is important to realize that just as no two people are alike, no two families are alike. Therefore, there are several strategies that might prove helpful to you or your family during a difficult transitional time in your life. Here are a few tips to help foster healing:
1.Encourage Honest Discussions
If there are children involved in the divorce, it is always best to encourage open discussions in an environment that is calm and safe. Each member of the family should feel as if he or she has the freedom to express unique feelings and concerns about the matter. Children should have the opportunity to address each other as well as the parents. During these conversations, it is important that adult conflicts are left off the table, and the main focus be meeting the needs of each family member during the change.
- Be Open to Resistance
It is very likely that your children will show signs of despair, anger, confusion, or any combination of emotion during this time. The best quality to exhibit in this case is patience. Be open to listening to all of your child’s concerns and worries. Just as your world is changing, so is your child’s, and often he or she is not able to see immediately the bigger picture. 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
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
After 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
If 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