Going through a divorce is difficult. The process involves varying legal requirements and resolving disputes with your ex. It can be lengthy and stressful for you, but it could have more significant and lasting effects on your children.
They might encounter hardships in their daily lives. They tend to experience bias from people around them who know about the family’s situation. They could receive varying treatments from different people, disrupting their daily lives and making them feel lost.
Still, their response could change depending on how old they are. Your divorce could cause the following reactions from your children:
- Toddlers to Grade 3: They might feel the divorce is their fault. At their age, they lack the communication skills to express their emotions. Their stress and grief could manifest as tantrums, separation anxiety and other problematic behavior. They could also show physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomach aches.
- Grade 4 – 6: They usually respond with anger, frustration and embarrassment. Children this age could also feel demotivated, affecting their hobbies, schoolwork and socialization. Additionally, they might feel pressure about choosing one parent over the other. They might need reassurance and encouragement, especially from their parents.
- Grade 7 – 12: Despite being mature enough to have a more realistic view of the situation, they could feel strongly about how the divorce could affect their lives. They could have tendencies of leaving home and participating in dangerous activities. They could also feel hopeless about reaching their goals.
As a parent, you could help your child process the circumstances and discuss their feelings. However, they might feel awkward about telling you everything. In this case, you might need the help of a professional counselor to help them through this tough time.
How can I help my child?
The first step to address these issues is noticing the signs. As children, they could struggle as their lives change due to the divorce. They need your involvement and support to maintain a sense of stability despite the shifting circumstances.
You could also collaborate with your ex to make the transition easier for them. If you need help managing the situation, you can contact mental health professionals specializing in similar cases. Doing so could help preserve your children’s mental health during and after the divorce.