The impact that divorce has on children is often quite negative. Parents often notice that their children experience outbursts of anger, rapid-onset depression, worsening performance at school and social withdrawal. Psychologists and social workers often include the divorce of parents among the most traumatic things that children can experience while growing up.
Concerns about their children often push people to stay in an unhappy marriage for longer than they should. The good news is that if you and your ex can work together even a little bit, it may be possible to reduce how hard divorce is on your children.
Presenting a united front as co-parents from the early days of divorce
Intense fighting between former spouses sharing custody can be very hard on children. Especially if parents complain about one another to the children or fight in front of them, that conflict can drastically increase the stress children feel about divorce.
Choosing to shield your children from your negative emotions can reduce how much stress they feel. If the two of you can agree to work together to keep the children out of the divorce and have a sit-down talk with the whole family so that the children know that they aren’t the cause of divorce, that will be a way to start things out on the right path.
Be willing to give your children both the space and the support that they need
Children of all ages are going to feel many different intense emotions when their parents divorce. There will be times when they lash out in anger and others where they become self-conscious and feel guilty.
You will have to walk a fine line between being supportive and understanding when your children struggle emotionally and knowing when they need space or help from someone else. Support groups for children going through a parental divorce, therapy and even renewed investment in social activities or extracurricular hobbies can give children healthy outlets for all of their feelings during a divorce.
Taking care of your kids means taking care of yourself first, which often means getting the right help as you navigate a divorce and custody proceedings.