Children’s attitudes and their experience with divorce are very different than that of their parents. They do not always grasp the reasons why it is necessary for their parents to divorce. It is important that you don’t get too caught up in your own issues to notice what your children need at a particular time. For many parents who are in the process of divorcing, they focus on their children’s needs, and what will be best for them over the course of the long-term. It also helps the divorcing parents to get through all of the issues that need to be decided upon, as they have more than there own needs to worry about.
Not all children are going to come right out and tell you that they are having trouble dealing with the divorce. However, there are many signs that can be indicators that they are struggling. You can then choose a good time to talk to them about it. If that doesn’t seem to help, you may consider consulting with a divorce coach, or have your children meet with a counselor.
You will likely have to use your own judgment when it comes to deciding when intervention may need to take place. Sometimes children from divorced families just need some time alone to get through what they are feeling. Keep in mind that they might have trouble dealing with it down the road instead of immediately. There is no set time frame as to when children will have issues with dealing with their parent’s divorce.
Anxiety is very common for children once they find out a divorce is going to be taking place. This can cause them to have changes in their moods. They may be happy one minute and then in tears the next. They may seem just fine one moment and then showing signs of aggression the next. Changes in their eating habits and how well they sleep are also common.
Older children may have a change in appearance. They may not be paying attention to their personal hygiene as much may have in the past. Sometimes this is just an issue with adolescence but not always. They may also rebel, so their choice of clothing and hairstyles may be different from what they would normally be featured with.
Watch for signs that your child is withdrawing. They may want more time alone to deal with their feelings so be respectful of that. However, if they are experiencing academic problems in school, not hanging out with friends to the extent that they would in the past, and aren’t engaging in activities that they used to enjoy, then they may be suffering from depression.
It can be difficult to punish your child when they are acting out due to the divorce. Yet you have to make sure you stay firm about boundaries. You don’t want them to end up being violent towards you or other people. They need to learn to deal with their feelings of anger in a positive way instead of destroying things.
Be careful if your child is blaming others for the divorce. They shouldn’t be putting the blame on you or their other parent. They also shouldn’t be looking for outside things to blame such as work or other people. Help them to see the situation for what it truly is so they can accept it.
If you are able to identify the signs that your child isn’t coping well with divorce, you can help them to handle it better. Your child may exhibit a variety of symptoms or just one or two. Communication is the key to helping to discover what the true situation is and how to help them find a positive outcome.