The divorce process impacts not only the spouses, but the entire family, especially the children. In general, adults are better equipped to deal with these difficult, complicated and emotionally driven life experiences. On the other hand, it is more difficult for children to understand the “how” and “why” of divorce. As such, it is important for you to be open and honest with your children about your separation and break the news of divorce to them as gently as possible.
Each child will react differently to the earth-shattering news that their parents are getting a divorce. You need to understand and appreciate the emotional state, behavioral changes and reactions of your child in order to ensure a smoother transition in the new chapter in their lives.
Children’s Initial Reactions to Divorce
Regardless of how old your kids are, they will understand that there is a problem and their household will never be the same. Common emotions kids tend to experience during a divorce include feeling sad, angry, worried, or withdrawn. Each child experienced these emotions differently depending on their age group. The feeling of guilt can further cause emotional trauma to children.
Younger children tend to worry more about who will take care of them or where their pet will go after the divorce. On the other hand, older children who have a basic understanding of what it means for their parents to separate, tend to stress about who they will live with, changing schools, losing their friends or moving to different places.
Parents’ Responsibilities in a Divorce
As the grown up, you have a big role as to how your children deal with your divorce. It is important that you remain cautious about any signs that could indicate your child is not handling the divorce well, including:
– Health issues
– Cognitive or learning disabilities
– Social withdrawal
– Loss of appetite
– Dependence on outside support
A healthy line of communication is key when dealing with kids during divorce. You need to be honest with your kids and explain to them that the separation is a mutual, adult decision that is in no way caused by them. Children crave attention from their parents. So, when you are dealing with your own emotions and stress, you cannot allow your distress to project onto your kids in the form of scolding or indifference.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Divorce Attorney
If you are going through a divorce or planning to file for divorce, it is important that you have a knowledgeable attorney fighting for your rights. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Central Valley divorce attorney, please call Gurjit Srai (209) 323-5558 or (559) 449-1447, or complete our online form.