Divorce can be a real stress and strain on family life, adapting to a new way of living and dividing up a whole life built together. But when you put yourself in the shoes of the children involved, you begin to understand how difficult the whole process can really be.
To state the obvious, the first year is always the toughest for children involved in a divorce. However, most children are pretty resilient and will adapt quickly to the change without too much fuss. For those children that take a little bit longer to come around to their new co-parented life, be sure to give them plenty of support and reassurance and don’t try to rush the process.
Something to look out for in your children as a sign they might not be coping with the change is a drop in their school grades. Often, children who have a lot going on in their family life struggle to focus their minds when it comes to education and as a result you may see a dip in their performance. It is an affect that might not show straight away but is very common so keep in contact with their teachers and give a helping hand with their homework where possible to give them that extra boost in the right direction.
One of the more noticeable affects divorce tends to have on a child is their behaviour. It is very typical of a young child that is under stress or is anxious of a situation to show such emotion through acting out. Children may use bad behaviour such as not listening, using aggressive behaviour, refusing to follow instructions, as a cry for help or a signal that something deeper is going on. Although it can be hard not to react to their behaviour, try to take a minute and address the situation by asking them to talk about their feelings.
Of course, when we talk of children, it includes a wide age range, and the affects may vary depending on the age of a child. Potentially one of the more dangerous sides of children in divorce is the older age range as they can act out in more extreme ways, but the benefit of older children is that they can be more involved in the family law process and feel more in control of the situation. Allowing them to decide things like how much time they spend with each parent can really help them come to terms with the change.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the paperwork and legal jargon involved in officially divorcing your partner but it’s important to take a minute to check in with your children and make sure they are coping with the change. Keeping a close eye on your children through this process may help you spot any signs of struggle and know when to step in and help them come to terms with what’s happening.