Other than death and taxes, a certainty in life is change. Children, though, are not always adept at handling change, especially divorce. However, with a little forethought and planning, parents can help mitigate the effects of a divorce on their children.
The family dynamics will change
One of the most common feelings children have during and after a divorce is loss. They feel like they are losing half their family, their home, friends, etc. Remember, the divorce will also change the family dynamic with their extended family, friends they leave behind when the move and even teachers when they change school districts. Even the focus of the parents themselves changes as they move on to find new partners and, perhaps, even new children and families. This leaves the children feeling abandoned or caught in the middle, especially if parents are only concerned with their own individual needs and desires.
Coping with those family dynamic changes
The best way to help them cope is to make the change as small as possible. Indeed, keeping the family unit as intact as possible post-divorce is the best way to avoid these issues. Never fight in front of the kids. Do not ask the kids to take a side. And, keep doing family traditions together with both parents. It may also help to create new traditions with both parents.
Losing their sense of family and belonging
Kids deal with the loss of their family through a divorce often feel abandoned or rejected by one or both parents. This can cause low self-esteem as they feel disconnected or isolated from their family. This can cause some to try drugs or alcohol to cope, or it could simply affect their performance at school as these feelings grow.
Coping with loss
Children crave and need stability. This is done through the support of their family (both parents). This is done by spending time with the kids, together. Establish routines during the divorce and after that include both parents so that both parents create that sense of stability. Quality time can go a long way.
Remember, work together
For our Decatur, Texas (and surrounding communities), readers, the key to making divorce less of an impact on kids is making them a priority. Plan interactions. Plan time together, and most important, keep their best interests at heart during the divorce process.