How Divorce Affects Children: What Parents Can Do About It
Divorce can be tough, especially when you have to separate from your spouse with the kids involved. Most parents wouldn't even think of getting a divorce. They rather stay together for the sake of keeping the kids happy. But the truth is, in a relationship where both spouses are not in good terms with each other will only have a more negative impact on the kids.
If you are about to undergo this depressing journey of ending your long-time marriage, you might also be wondering how this process will affect the kids both psychologically and emotionally. This article will give you an insight into how a divorce can affect your kids and what you can do to help them through this painful phase.
The First Year of Divorce is Always the Toughest Part for them to Experience
At the initial stage of the divorce, your kids will have to deal with the fact that they won't be seeing both parents together. These kids will notice the unusual changes at home between both parents, and they will try to adapt. According to some research, most kids find it very tough to live without both parents together during the first and second year of the divorce. They struggle to get used to the separation, which affects them emotionally.
Studies hold that during these periods of not seeing both parents together anymore, they are more likely to experience;
· Anger – Having to cope with the fact that they will not be seeing their parents together make them angry, and they become so aggressive around people. In most case, they get annoyed with their parents for failing to stay together as a family should.
· Anxiety – Children from divorced homes are always intense, anxious, and nervous about something. They do not concentrate on their books, and they get easily distracted. Because of their anxiety, they lose interest in activities they once loved.
· Sadness – When realizing that they will no more be seeing their parents together and they will either have to live without a mum or dad, they become extremely sad to the point that they rarely see anything fun and this eventually makes them depressed.
· Distress – With both parents separated, they become distressed about the whole situation, and this makes them unhappy or unwilling to partake in any new fun activity. They prefer to isolate themselves from happy gatherings.
Most kids try to get used to the new lifestyle quickly, while some take time before fully adapting to the new changes. However, it is surprising that most parents fail to understand how a divorce can have an impact on their children's emotions and behaviours. They only seem to care about the fact that so far as the relationship has ended, everything will be alright. But whatever decisions you make regarding your divorce, they should be for the favor of the kids.
How Divorce Affects a Child Emotionally
Undergoing a divorce is depressing for both the individual experiencing it and his or her entire family. In spite of that, the kids suffer the most because they will have to get used to living with a single parent while seeing the other with another family. Below are a few ways of how a divorce can affect your younger children emotionally;
· Seeing that both parents will not be living together under the same roof, they find it difficult to understand why they should go between both homes and that's visiting the other parent (who they are not living with) at certain hours and then coming back to be with their primary parent. Also, once they see that both parents are no more in love, they start to feel as though their parents will not love them anymore.
· Your younger kids may start to think that they are the reason for the divorce. They may fear they misbehaved or may assume they did something wrong. With those thoughts in mind, they will feel as though the divorce wouldn't have happened if only they behaved well.
· Teenagers of a divorced home will get mad at the whole situation, and the changes it brings. They may start hating one parent for the divorce or blame them both. They can also be aggressive toward their parents.
In some circumstances where the parents usually fought and quarrelled all the time while they were still together, their kids may have even loved the idea of getting a divorce as the only means to end such a traumatic experience of being with parents who did not get along.
The Stress Associated With Divorce Can Also Have An Effect On Your Kids
Losing touch of one parent
Usually, after a divorce, your kids will have to either live with you or the other spouse. In most cases, child custody goes to the mums, and so the child won't be seeing the father more often. In a situation where your child won't be seeing his or her father more often will decrease the parent and child bond. Which means your child will be losing touch of his or her father, they will not be close to each other as before. Some research, conducted by a divorce-related company, has found that many children lose close contacts with their fathers after divorce.
Single Parenting can give less care and support to the child
The parent who gets child custody is given the right over the care and welfare of the child. Most often, mothers win custodial rights over the child and not fathers. Now, since she is left to take care of the child alone without support from the father, she can get all stressed up and may not show much affection towards the child. Instead of caring and loving the child, spending time with him or her, she will only be interested in looking for ways to upgrade her income just to carter for the child.
The new changes that come with a divorce can also affect the kids
After divorce, you know your kids will not be seeing the other spouse, and they will have to change where they live, their school, and many other things. Going through all these new changes can be hard for them to adapt but eventually, they will have to get used to it.
Increased Financial problems
As a single parent, taking care of your kids is not that easy. You will be the only one catering for your children’s personal and academic needs, and that can be a financial burden. If the situation becomes worse, you will have to change your neighbourhood and move to a smaller home. You may even rely on fewer resource materials.
Ways To Help Your Kids Get Through With the Divorce
Even with all the consequences associated with getting a divorce when the children are involved, you can still help in a way to make sure your kids don’t feel so bad about the situation. The truth is, you can even make them much happier and relaxed than before. Below are a few tips to help reduce the emotional and psychological toll of divorce on your kids;
· You and your ex-spouse should learn to avoid heated arguments and fights around the kids. You both should be cooperative enough to take care of the children peacefully, even after divorce.
· Don’t place your kids in the middle of the whole situation. Stop childish acts of asking your kids whom they prefer between you and your ex-spouse. Or use them to send messages to your ex-spouse.
· Maintain a healthy relationship with your kids by supporting them in any new fun activity they are doing, loving and caring for them at all time, helping them perform brilliantly in their studies and teaching them to live a good life.
· Teach them the types of household rules and discipline them with positive and negative consequences. Establish appropriate age rules that will help guide them in life.
· Monitor your teenage kids closely. Know who they spend their time with and what they do daily. By doing so, you will make sure they do not abuse drugs or have problems academically.
· Don't let your kids doubt their ability to adapt to the new changes or feel as though they are helpless about the situation because if they keep the doubts in mind, it can result in mental health problems. You can encourage them and make them understand that they can handle the new changes.
If you feel you can’t handle this on your own, you can take your child to support groups or undergo a family therapy for more professional assistance.