We know that divorce affects children. What we do to help children adjust plays a large role in how they cope successfully. The first step is to know how divorce affects children.
You may think that babies under eight months old don’t notice a difference, but they pick up on changes in your mood or behaviour. If you’re depressed, don’t have as much energy, or aren’t as responsive to an infant, they notice. Because a divorce may cause less contact with one parent, they may not be as comfortable with that parent. If practicable make sure your child has regular time with both parents and give your child time to adjust to any new adults.
Toddlers understand that something is different, and they’re often confused. Because toddlers don’t see things through other perspectives, they may take the blame on themselves. Toddlers don’t understand time or reasons, causing them to ask the same questions again. That can be frustrating, but the key is to remain patient and understand that your child sees things differently. Encourage them to express their feelings.
Older children still personalise. They may believe that they are to blame for the divorce. They understand more and grieve. Remember that they may feel out of control and act out, especially in school. They may also take sides. Keep working with your child on expressing feelings. Reassure them that they are not to blame. It’s especially important that you don’t talk badly about the other parent. Not only can this cause the child to withdraw from the other parent, but it could produce feelings of resentment towards you.
Many people overlook the affect divorce has on teenagers. They’re older, understand more, and we expect them to act more like adults. But teens may feel betrayed and distance themselves from parents. They may act out in anger. If they feel that the divorce is their fault, they may try to improve in an effort to save the marriage. Take care of yourself, keep them out of your relationship with your ex, and assure them that the divorce won’t hold them back. To find out more, call us now for a free 15-minute consultation or book a consultation. We can provide certainty and put you on the path to a functional settlement.