Divorce can have substantial effects on everyone in a family. Parents need to find new ways to communicate and relate and must choose new methods to parent their children. The effects of divorce on children can vary as some children greatly struggle with the transition while others react in more understanding and natural ways.
The good news is that kids are resilient and when assisted with the transition can view divorce less as a crisis and more as an adjustment. In families with more than one child, each may experience different effects. However, there are common struggles to be aware of for parents going through a divorce.
Poor Academic Performance
Divorce is a challenge for everyone. For kids, the dynamic change may make them confused and distracted. Since their daily life is being interrupted, it’s not uncommon for them to experience issues with academic performance. The more distracted the divorce makes the kids, the less likely they are to be able to focus on their homework.
Trouble Handling Change
During a divorce, children may find they need to adapt to change on a more frequent basis than they are used to. New homes, new family dynamics, new friends, and new schools can also have an impact on the little ones.
Lack of Interest in Activities
Research indicates that many children have social issues during a divorce. When a child’s family is going through a divorce, they may find it harder to relate to those around them. This can result in having fewer people to connect with on a social basis. In some cases, children feel insecure and may wonder if their family is the only one dealing with a divorce.
Many different emotions may occur during a divorce, both with the adults and the kids. Everything from anxiety to confusion and anger to loss may occur during the process. Divorce may make a child emotionally sensitive and overwhelmed. Kids need a way to let out their emotions to others who will listen to them.
Irritability and Anger
When children are feeling overwhelmed and aren’t sure how to express the way they feel during divorce, they may be irritable or angry. This anger can come out at all sorts of causes. They might be angry with their friends, themselves, and their parents. Most children will find the anger stops after a few weeks, but this isn’t true in every case. It can be a prolonged effect of divorce.
Children often start to think about why a divorce is happening in their family. They may search for reasons, wondering if they did something wrong and their parents no longer love each other. These feelings of guilt are common but can lead to additional issues. Guilt can lead to stress, depression, and other health issues. It also adds pressure to a child’s life. Kids may need context and counseling to reduce these types of feelings.
Methods to Help Kids Through a Divorce
Adults who go through a divorce as children may experience more problems in relationships. Divorce rates are higher for those who watch their parents divorce. Parents have a huge impact on how kids deal with divorce. There are several strategies to put in place to avoid divorce harming children.
If parents are in serious conflict, it can increase the amount of stress for children. Some forms of conflict, like threatening or screaming at each other, can create behavioral issues in children. However, even smaller forms of tension can increase distress for kids. If you are unable to co-parent with your ex-partner, professional help may be needed.
Maintenance of Healthy Relationships
Low levels of conflict, parental warmth, and positive communication can help children better adjust to divorce. Having a healthy relationship with your children is essential. It can give them higher self-esteem and improved academic performance after a divorce.
Parents who are paying attention to what older kids are doing and who they are spending time with are less likely to have problem behaviors following divorce. This also means they are less likely to have academic issues or use substances like alcohol and drugs.
Teach Coping Skills
Children who have cognitive restructuring skills and problem-solving skills are better able to cope with a divorce. You should teach your child the best way to manage their behaviors, feelings, and thoughts healthily.
Work with an Experienced Divorce Attorney
Having an experienced divorce attorney in your corner can ensure the process goes smoothly. Having everything worked out can cut down on stress for the children and let them experience the new normal. Choose an attorney with experience working with families like yours through a divorce for the best results. They can offer advice on how to handle the divorce so the children feel less stressed.