How Divorce Can Affect Your Child

June 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Parenting

There are few things in life that traumatize a family more than divorce. Every family member will find themselves having angry, uncertain and confused feelings about the whole process. Betrayal is also a common emotion.

After a divorce, there are many changes that will affect the lives of both the parents as well as the children. When the parents separate, they have to decide on where the kids will live, as well as how they will manage on smaller individual incomes. Usually, it becomes like a single-parent family, with one parent taking responsibility for work and home. At a time when emotions and feelings are ruling the heart, dealing with everyday issues can become a big problem.

Although divorce is rough, there are a few ways that you can make it easier on your children. Parents who are in the midst of divorce will understandably be angry with one another, and they are allowed to express this anger without having it control them to the point where it’s the kids who suffer the most.

Most kids whose parents get divorced feel that they are somehow responsible for it happening. This misunderstanding must be sorted out with the kids immediately, in age-appropriate words and gestures. Also, no matter how one spouse feels towards the other, there is no excuse to use your kids as bargaining chips or as tools of getting revenge.

Many issues will arise, and disagreements over them form the norm in divorcing households: money, child custody, housing and so on. These have to be handled when the kids are out of the house or at school. If the kids are old enough, ask for their input. They’ll feel more in control of the situation in this manner. Most will say that they don’t want the divorce. Faced with no other solution, kids can be remarkably realistic when it comes to what they want, though.

Allow your kids to express their feelings, even if those feelings cannot be worked upon. This will make them feel that their parents do understand them, as well as help them gain a form of control in an unstable environment. So by allowing them a chance to organize things the way they want in their new lives, you’re proving to them that their feelings are important to you.

Kids often feel that if they do things differently, their parents will stay together. You have to gently but firmly squash this notion.

Once the new living arrangements are done and the custody issues are sorted for the moment, the parents will need to make certain that everything the little ones require is there for them at each of the locations of the spouses. Some sentimental objects can help them feel at home wherever they are.

It is also important that you give your child space to express his or her feelings of anger, reproach, disappointment and hostility towards you without restricting these emotions. Such emotions tend to last for only a while, as children are remarkably resilient. Telling them that they ‘don’t really mean that’ isn’t helpful for now, because the truth is, they do.

Single parenting is full of new challenges that need to be overcome by the parent who has custody of the kids at the moment. However, the lack of angry vibes, loud arguments and recriminating silences in the house does a lot of good to the kids. A semblance of normality returns, and the parent in charge can take control by forming new rules and regulations for the kids without any of the anger and bitter debates.

The cases of divorce have been increasing from the seventies, and most of these divorces happen in families with children, Good parenting is where the adults involved in the divorce sit down and civilly talk about the best way to handle the whole affair in the best interests of the kids. This way, the children will not suffer life-long pain and bitter emotions of this phase of their life.

As good parents, this must be your number one aim!