Divorce is painful for everyone involved. But while each spouse may be focused on his or her own pain and grief during this difficult process, it can be easy to forget about the pain of those who have had no hand at all, or choice, in the end of the marriage. Children are almost always profoundly affected by the split of their parents, and the aftermath can be difficult.
According to Parents Magazine, about half of all marriages in the country result in divorce. This means a great deal of children in Colorado are dealing with the heartbreak of seeing their parents split, and their home life as they knew it falling apart. PsychCentral says that the simple act of focusing on children during a divorce, and avoiding exposing them to conflict, can help to shield them from many of divorce's negative effects.
The effects of divorce on children
Small children thrive best in consistent, predictable environments, and that security is easily shattered during a divorce. According to WebMD, young children usually respond by regressing - reverting to such things as bedwetting and becoming excessively clingy. Older children often cope with their parents' divorce by acting out, having problems in school and becoming depressed or aggressive.
Easing the pain for little ones
It's important to reassure children that the divorce was never their fault. It can be a good idea to inform teachers and school counselors about what's going on at home so they can keep an eye out for any problems. Letting children spend time with their friends while they're visiting the other parent can also help ease the transition from one household to two.
The Mayo Clinic has other tips that can help children during a divorce:
- Never force children to choose sides
- Don't use the child to hurt the other parent
- Don't make the child act as a messenger to the other parent
- Don't say bad things about the other parent around the child
- Don't argue or discuss child support issues in front of children
It's normal for emotions to run high during a divorce, and it can especially be hard at first for ex-spouses to get along. By keeping conflict and negativity to a minimum, children will feel less of the stress and pain of their parents' split.
Contacting a divorce attorney
The needs and well-being of children are among the most crucial issues during a divorce, which is a confusing and difficult time even for adults. These emotions can be especially hard for children to sort through as they must become accustomed to new routines and separate homes. In many cases, it may be necessary to seek the help of an attorney experienced in child custody and support issues, in order to help everyone transition as smoothly as possible.