Divorce is stressful for everyone involved, but especially for children. While each child is different, many kids recover faster than others.
The positive news is that when Kentucky parents work in unison to reduce the effects of divorce, those efforts can pay dividends in helping kids adjust to their new family dynamic.
How do kids react to divorce?
While each child is unique, the psychological impact typically fosters common feelings among children in these age groups:
- Preschool: Very young kids are often confused about why they are living in two separate households. They can wonder if mom and dad stop loving each other, will they no longer love them?
- Grade-schoolers: These children often feel guilt over their parents’ divorce. They fear their misbehavior or actions led to the split.
- High-schoolers: Teens are more likely to get angry, blaming one parent, or resenting both for causing this significant disruption in their lives.
It’s also true that kids of any age can be relieved when their parents separate because it means less hostility and a more peaceful home life.
What can parents do to help?
Kids who live in dysfunctional households are more likely to experience mental health problems, have behavioral issues, increase risk-taking and see their academic prowess deteriorate. But parents who work together for their kids’ benefit can help them better adjust by:
- Eliminating angry and hostile interactions with each other
- Never putting their kids in the middle of a dispute forcing them to choose one parent over the other
- Maintaining a healthy and respectful relationship with each other
- Being on the same page when it comes to discipline
- Closely watching their kids’ behavior and who they hang out with
- Reassuring their kids that both parents still love them
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help
Some parents only stay together for the sake of their kids. However, when mom and dad can’t get along, staying married is not a foolproof plan for protecting children. Divorce is often the best option for everyone.
As long as both parents work together to help their children transition to a new way of life, kids can be pretty resilient. However, when behavioral problems arise and persist, parents shouldn’t hesitate to seek guidance from a counselor or therapy to help children sort through their emotions.