Splitting from your spouse could completely change the dynamic of your family and disrupt the routine your children rely on. It could leave them feeling confused, angry and uncertain.
Given the gravity of the situation, it is not unlikely that your children will react. Knowing some of the challenges they could face along the way may help you prepare to provide optimal support.
Your divorce will probably force you or your spouse to relocate. This means your children’s idea of their family has now changed completely. Depending on the situation and the arrangement you settle on, your children may need to split their time between two households. This can cause a great deal of uncertainty as your children adapt to this new normal.
Adjusting to a child custody schedule will take time for everyone. During this transition, your children may experience a number of emotions including sadness, guilt and worry. They may struggle in school, feel disinterested in socializing and exhibit behavioral problems. These side effects will noticeably worsen if there is a high level of conflict between you and your ex.
Another potential issue your children might encounter is parental estrangement. According to the Child Mind Institute, disagreements during your divorce can trickle into your children’s relationships and cause stress, strain and estrangement. Your job is to work with your ex in a civil manner to arrange a functional custody agreement.
Stay flexible and maintain a realistic perspective about each other’s expectations. Encourage your children to maintain a relationship with their other parent. You can facilitate positive interactions when you show enthusiasm for the time your children spend with your ex.
Divorce can create a lot of stress for your children, but your support can make a considerable difference in your children’s ability to adapt.