How Are Children Affected by Divorce?
There is a lot of misinformation about the effects that divorce has on children and this article will address some common misconceptions as well as provide advice for parents who have been left wondering what they should do when faced with separation or an impending divorce, especially in Jacksonville, FL.
The divorce rate in the United States is steadily increasing. This means that more and more children will be dealing with divorce in their own families, which can have a significant impact on their mental health and well-being. In this blog post, we will go over some of the effects of divorce on children and what parents can do to help them cope with these changes.
Here are some things that divorce can do to a child:
- Create feelings of abandonment and neglect. Children may feel like they have been abandoned by one or both parents, which will lead them to experience large amounts of anxiety about the future as well as depression.
- Cause children to feel guilty for being responsible for their parent’s divorce. This is because children often take on the blame for many different reasons, even if it has nothing at all to do with them! For example, maybe one person had more success in their career than another person, which could make a child think that they caused the divorce through an unfair comparison between spouses’ careers. In reality, though, most divorces happen due to factors outside of just what happened in the marriage.
- Children may feel like they have been abandoned by one or both parents, which will lead them to experience large amounts of anxiety about the future as well as depression.
- Divorce can also put a huge strain on children’s relationships with their parents and even siblings due to conflicts caused by divorce obligations such as child custody arrangements, time spent with each parent, and sibling relationship dynamics that change when there is only one household left instead of two households.
Divorce is Not Just an Emotional Issue With Children
These issues are not just emotional; it has also been proven through research that divorce affects your health over the long term so this could affect children in different ways, too, if you’re experiencing poor mental and physical health from being divorced! For example, some symptoms experienced by adults who were raised in separated families show that they are more likely to have depression or other anxiety-related disorders like PTSD or OCD.
Divorce is never easy for anyone involved, but it can be challenging for children. When a family breaks up, the kids may not understand that they have to spend less time with either parent, and this change can lead to some behavioral changes like acting out or getting into trouble at school. Additionally, divorce often means changing schools which could cause them anxiety because of all these new things happening in their lives.
Even after everything settles down, there are still plenty of changes such as holidays being spent separately from one or both parents and feeling torn between two homes instead of having everyone together in one place. Finally, even though children might want their parents back together again when the fighting starts about child custody arrangements and visitation schedules, this only adds more stress to an already strenuous situation. Some of these issues are:
- Divorce can have a negative impact on children’s emotional development, self-esteem, and behavior as they may act out or get into trouble at school;
- after everything settles down, many children are still impacted by changes in their lives, such as holiday schedules being spent separately from one or both parents with sibling rivalry between two homes instead of togetherness in one place;
- even if the child wants his/her parents back when fighting starts about arrangements for custody over the parental responsibilities this only adds more stress to an already stressful situation.
The best way you can help your kids cope is to listen openly without judgment and try not to take sides but remain neutral at all times. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they think may happen post-divorce because it will make them feel like you care about their needs.
Be Conscious of Your Child’s Needs
This is the time to be considerate of their feelings and needs. For example, they may want things like more attention or freedom but not so much that it will interfere with your ability to help them adjust post-divorce. Make sure you are mindful of how demanding any requests could potentially become if left unchecked after a divorce occurs because children need consistency now more than ever after this change in their lives has occurred.
It is also important for parents not to try and get too close before it’s been established which parent will have physical custody over the child at specific times. A good idea might be to put boundaries up until the arrangement becomes permanent so as not to confuse or frighten your kids unnecessarily during this stressful transition.
Never Put Them in the Middle of Any Conflicts or Arguments
It can be difficult to make sure your children are protected from the conflict that is occurring between you and their other parent, but it’s important not to take them into custody disputes with one another as they will feel guilty for whichever side of the argument they choose.
The last thing kids need after this change in their lives is to have more stressors put on top of what they’re already struggling with so do your best not to add fuel by saying things like “Look how terrible she was” while at a public event where anyone could hear. This eventually ends up hurting everyone involved so aim for patience before anything else when discussing parenting agreements with spouses if possible until these new arrangements become normal again.
Never Discuss Your Divorce Proceedings
It’s natural to want to talk about the divorce with your children, but this is something they really don’t need in their lives when everything has already been turned upside down for them as well.
They’re going through a lot and that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to process what you say or understand why anything happened so keep these conversations short if necessary and only discuss things like schedules if it affects him/her directly rather than past events which will just bring up mixed emotions he/she isn’t ready to experience yet on top of everything else happening around them right now.
A good rule of thumb for teenagers who have more freedom is not to talk about divorce outside the home at all unless asked since anything you say may be overheard by a sibling or friend who doesn’t know that the divorce is happening.
If you want to talk about how divorce affects children with them, try talking about their feelings and emotions which are all over the place right now rather than focusing on what happened between you and your spouse as it will just confuse everything more for them.
It’s important to reassure kids that they’re still loved after any kind of separation even if this isn’t something he/she can fully understand yet because in some ways this may feel like rejection from one parent when it really wasn’t anything intentional at all.
Talk to him/her often without pushing too hard but don’t avoid these conversations either since shutting down won’t help him/her in the end.
Parental Alienation and Children
Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a real phenomenon affecting our society where one party is deliberately manipulating the child’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior to alienate them from the other parent. It is believed that PAS often stems from a parental desire for revenge or retribution against an ex-spouse.
Some studies have found parental alienation can be as injurious to children as physical abuse: “It causes kids not only psychological damage but relationship damage, and it can be as injurious to children as physical abuse.”
The parental alienation phenomenon has been studied for decades by psychologists but has only recently been accepted in family courts. Since the 1980s, more than 20 countries have passed legislation addressing parental alienation with guidance on how judges should address allegations of parental alienation during divorce proceedings.
How To Help Your Kids Cope With Divorce In Jacksonville
When you’re going through any type of life transition it’s hard enough that adults have trouble adjusting but when you add in kids all bets are off. It can be especially tough when there is an emotional or physical custody battle involved which creates even more stress for everyone no matter what side they are on. However, according to professional therapists, the majority of children will be able to adjust and can end up in a healthier place when they have the opportunity to talk about their feelings. So enlist the help of a therapist to help your kids through the transition and have a better chance of being happy. There are many child and adolescent therapists right here in Jacksonville, Florida.
Remember to Make Time for Your Children
Often one of the things that get pushed aside for a lot of parents going through divorce is time with their kids so it’s important to make this as much a priority now as anything else.
You can create special moments you share together again even if they’re not in your house and use these memories later when he/she may feel like you abandoned them or something worse happened.
If there are days when work gets really busy, find someone who’ll watch him/her while still sticking to his/her routine which will help ease some worries too since this person has been vetted by both parties before and knows what he or she needs.
Give yourself permission right now to care about yourself first but don’t forget about how doing this might affect your child.
Divorce is not easy for anyone involved and it’s really important to be proactive about how you’re going to keep your child safe during this time too because divorce isn’t always as clean-cut as “the parents just live in different houses now.”
You may need special arrangements like switching custody with someone or even getting a protective order if there are any concerns which will help set boundaries for everyone involved.
It doesn’t matter what the circumstance, divorce can take a toll on children so remember that they have some rights too when making decisions that might affect them down the line.
Most of all though, don’t forget – kids love their families and want everything to work out; we should do our best to make that happen.
If you need more information on Divorce in Jacksonville, please contact me. I want to help people understand what happens and how these children are affected by divorce.