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How Does Divorce Affect Children?

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Divorce and Children

Divorce and Children; The old notion of staying together despite extreme differences, just for the kids’ sake, while noble, is a bad idea. Staying together in that situation will result in, at the very least, a cold and hostile environment and setting a bad example for children as to what a healthy relationship looks like.  At the worst, these children will grow up in a home where the parents bicker, which has a host of problems in itself.

Do not rule out divorce simply because you have children. Choosing to stay together when you hate your partner’s guts can be way more harmful to children. Still, divorce is a scary thing, especially for children. As a whole, change is terrifying for children, especially those under the age of about eight.

First, let us clear the air. Not all divorce is necessarily going to be wrong, and nowadays, kids are smarter than people think. There are many documented cases where children will express support for their parents separating, feeling that while they love their parents, they do not like their parents together. Honestly, some people are not compatible, and, throughout a relationship, people are the same people they were when they met.

Therefore, it is essential to seek outside a therapist’s help with your kids if you’re undergoing a divorce. We will discuss therapy at length shortly, but first, let us discuss how divorce can impact a child if handled poorly.

The Effects

Children under a certain age, do not understand things the way older children and adults do. It also varies on their upbringing and the culture they follow. Children of 7 to 8 age tend to see the world differently because children of this age of been in school for a few years, have probably met children with divorced parents, and have a little bit more understanding of social dynamics as a whole from exposure to the outside world. They are also just a little more self-assured and a little more world-weary than smaller children. Still, they can be somewhat fragile, so pay attention even to older children during something like this.

Change can be terrifying to children. The idea that their parents, a union that seems set in stone in their young eyes, are splitting apart can be baffling and scary to them. What will their daily life be like now? Will they never see one of their parents again? What about their grandparents and extended family on either side? Does one of the parents no longer love them?

 Is it their fault?

These are questions that will immediately come to a small child’s mind during a divorce, and these are thoughts that can be haunting and terrifying, let alone traumatic, to their young minds. First and foremost, they need to be assured that it has nothing to do with them. Even if one of the spouses is leaving due to a disinterest in the children, they need to understand that it has nothing to do with them and that their parents want different things in life. In ideal situations, they need to understand that both parents will still be in their lives and will both love them forever.

However, the nature of the divorce can have an impact as well. Divorcing couples will often be prone to fighting, even if the inciting incident is not either party’s fault. Hostility is somewhat understandable in the situation, but it should never be seen in front of children. Anytime the children are present, both parties should be entirely civil, respectful to one another despite things. This may be easier said than done, but fighting makes it worse and only makes this impending and confusing change all the more traumatic for a child. Children should also be asked, even if it is set in stone that the divorce will happen, how they feel about it. Let children express their opinion, let them express their concerns, and let them feel heard.

How Therapy Can Help

Therapy may be necessary for a couple of different circumstances. If the child is reacting very negatively to the divorce, despite your best efforts as mentioned above, it may be necessary for therapists to help you explain to your child what is going on and guide you in addressing their fears. Remember, kids may not express how they feel eloquently as an adult, and a therapist may help with this.

A relationship therapist can also help both parties remain amicable during the divorce to not provide a stressful environment for the child. Therapy may even help both parties maintain some civil, friendly relationship, which is very healthy for a child in the long run. When the divorce is over, both participants still need to behave civilly around one another for the child’s sake.

If you are going through a divorce and have children, it is a good idea to go ahead and enlist a therapist’s help now. Even if you think you have got this, even if you think your kid is handling it well, everybody is good at wearing an emotional mask, and we could all be hurting badly inside. These unexpressed feelings could turn into something far worse, so do not hesitate to enlist outside help; it is not a failure; it is just common sense. Edmonton Counselling services can help you and your children during a hard time if you need it.

Divorce and Children