When a couple with kids is on the cusp of ending their marriage, most of their first thought is, if they should stay together for kids. But sometimes, divorce seems to be the only option in the end.
This can lead to several worries for divorcing parents, such as living arrangements, custody procedures, etc. But their biggest worry is how their children will deal with the divorce.
Children will inevitably feel the psychological impact of their parents separating after being together for years. Some kids recover faster than others. If treated correctly, the situation can be controlled, and possible damage can be healed.
It is a common factor that children feel the stress of separation, and over time, they learn to adapt to the new situation and recover from it.
There is no doubt regarding the importance of parents’ roles in helping their children deal with divorce. They can lessen the possible serious adverse aftermaths for their children.
First Year Is Tough
Mostly it is expected, and researches have also shown that most kids struggle for an initial couple of years after the divorce. During that time, kids may feel misery, resentment, angst, anxiety, and doubts. Usually, kids bounce back from those feelings and get back to their normal routines as they become accustomed to the new living arrangements. Nevertheless, this can also be not denied that some children may experience continuing stress and problems after their parents’ divorce.
How Children Get Impacted?
A child could feel the impact in different forms such as:
- Loss of belongingness – When separation occurs, children may feel like their whole world has been turned upside down. Especially with the change in living arrangements with the parents means that not just losing a home, but the whole way of life.
- Unfamiliarity – Living in a new neighborhood or with an unfamiliar family
- Fear or dread of being left alone – Divorce means kids live separate from one parent. They might feel like the other parent may also leave them to start a new life.
- Anger and frustration – Kids can be angry at one or both of their parents and hold them responsible for the breakdown of relationships.
- Guilt – Children might think themselves to be responsible for the divorce.
- Insecurity – They may feel rejected and undecided about whose side they should take between both parents.
- Insecurity can also cause unexpected behaviors in young children such as bedwetting, nightmares, anxieties, noncompliance, etc.
- Even growing kids may show signs of distress by disobeying, lack of concentration, or retreating from others emotionally and behaviourally.
Does Relocation Affect Children?
Relocation makes a major psychological impact on children’s overall life. When children have to live separate from one parent, it disrupts their family life and the feeling of security that comes with it.
But if the absent parent can live close to his or her children and stay in touch with them regularly and spend time with them, both the parents might be able to maintain the family atmosphere for the children.
If the children are not able to see one parent frequently, it might lead to feelings of discontent and melancholy. However, with time as children grow up, they might become used to it and start to develop their own circle of friends and acquaintances.
When children are relocating with one parent, it means they will have to live in a new neighborhood, go to a new school, make new friends, leave old friends behind, and more.
So they are going to feel stressed, which is quite understandable, with everything happening on the top of living away from one parent. Children also often get overwhelmed with all these feelings due to relocating with one parent or because of the lack of financial stability.
If the relationship between parents had not been good before the divorce, the children may or may not feel so bad about the divorce. Mostly it depends on the stress of the parents’relationship before and during the divorce.
Regardless of what went wrong in the relationship and who was responsible for it, both the parents are equally responsible for helping their children cope with the divorce and have a happy and positive mindset.
Myths About Children’s Problems After Divorce
Everyone has something to say about how a divorce can impact children. It becomes hard to tell right from wrong. One common notion is that boys find it more difficult to adjust to their parents’ divorce than girls. However, there is no proper evidence that would support this idea.
Also, it doesn’t matter how old the children are when their parents are divorcing. Everyone reacts differently. Some recover sooner than others.
Furthermore, the absence of one parent doesn’t necessarily always devastate the kids and affect their development, especially in the long run.
What Can Parents Do To Help Their Kids?
Parents can be the biggest motivator for their kids at the time of separation.
- They can ensure that their children spend time with both parents. Parents should continue to show their love and care for their children.
- Keep their children away from adult responsibilities and stress.
- Talk to children and ensure that they are not responsible for the separation.
- Both parents can work and behave cordially when dealing with kids.
- Encourage their kids to talk about their feelings.
- Spend more time with kids after separation. Take them to explore nature, flowers, plants, etc. go camping, picnics, movies, and more.
What Shouldn’t Parents Do?
- Should not ask or force their kids to choose between both the parents.
- Not use kids to spy on or hurt the ex-partner.
- Criticize or bad-mouth the ex-partner in front of the kids.
- Should not try to turn the kids against new partners in their ex-partners’ lives.
If you are finding it difficult to help your child deal with your separation, it would be wise to look for outside help like a therapist or your general practitioner. They will be able to give you the right advice. It may help your kids to handle their emotions and adjust to the family’s changing aspects.