The breakup of a family is difficult for everyone, especially the children. Each child may react to your divorce differently, depending on age and emotional makeup, and you must be prepared for everything from tears and anxiety to anger and withdrawal.
No matter how deeply you and the other parent are affected by the divorce, the children need your help, and their welfare must be your top priority.
Issues that may surface
Adapting to change, such as a new living situation and a change in schools and friends, plus the interruption to their accustomed routine, is hard for many children. You may notice a drop in their academic performance. They may lose interest in social activities, preferring to spend more time by themselves. There may well be feelings of insecurity or a fear that they somehow caused your divorce.
The emotional aspects
The divorce may result in confusion for the children in addition to a feeling of loss. You must be on the lookout for emotional changes. The children will need help in processing their emotions and that means needing someone like you to talk to. Reserve time to listen to their thoughts. You may have to “read between the lines” of what the children have to say.
Reaffirming your love
Once the parenting plan is in place and the judge has ordered child custody matters, it is time to face the reality of two households and how the children are going to deal with the post-divorce era. Some children, who are old enough to understand divorce, will react to it in a mature way, but younger children will often have problems dealing with the transition and they will require extra attention. Sometimes it is a matter of affirming over and over that you love them and will be there for them no matter what.
Seeking additional help
A family law attorney will tell you that there is no magical solution to helping your children cope with your divorce. Every situation is unique, and when child custody and parenting time issues arise you may need the assistance of a professional in helping you so that you can better help your children.