Even if it is the best solution for the future of the entire family, divorce often means a dramatic change in lifestyles. From the reduction in spending power to the logistics of maintaining separate households, parents must ensure their children receive the proper care and attention after a divorce.
Through the divorce process and in the months or years after, children are likely to experience a broad array of emotions. Unfortunately, they often lack the maturity or emotional growth to fully articulate the range of feelings they struggle with. It is common for children of different ages to react in different ways to the stress and strain they experience.
- Young children: While infants might not display any discernible emotional reaction, toddlers and pre-school age children often exhibit confusion through this time. From the new home situation to the division of parental responsibilities, young children might lack the emotional capacity to fully conceptualize the end of a marriage and the necessary changes that follow.
- Grade school-age children: While this age group has likely started to conceptualize the divorce, they are still worried that their parent’s love might not be unconditional. They worry that the divorce is somehow their fault, and the parents might resent their part in the end of the marriage.
- Teenagers: As their emotions continue to grow and evolve, unfortunately, teens often react with anger and sullenness during the divorce. Teenagers could also begin to blame one parent for the end of the marriage, choosing to favor one parent over the other. This could lead to resentment and alienation.
Even with an amicable split, the divorce will likely introduce a significant amount of strain to the entire family unit. It is crucial that the former spouses turn their attention to the children during this stressful time. By answering questions and keeping an open forum for concerns, the divorced parents can ensure the children understand and grow through the experience.