Divorce and separation are never easy things to handle. And if you have kids with your spouse or partner, splitting up will affect them, too. Divorce has a lasting impact on kids of all ages, so it’s important to be aware of the potential consequences before you sign the papers.
Divorce is stressful for kids
You might think your kids aren’t aware of your issues with your spouse, but they probably know that something is wrong, even if you haven’t told them about the divorce yet. Children are observant, especially when it comes to their parents. And since your kids are so dependent on you and your spouse, a separation will shake up their world and stress them out – no matter how amicable the divorce is. Most children feel insecure and sad when their parents split up, and some even blame themselves for the divorce.
Young children and teenagers react differently
Young children often become more fearful and dependent when their parents split up. They know that something terrible is happening, but they don’t fully understand it. Some children even go through a phase of developmental regression when their parents separate.
Teenagers, on the other hand, typically try to protect themselves from the pain of their parents’ divorce by becoming more independent. This pain can lead to rebellious behavior and less closeness with the rest of the family.
Some – but not all – kids have lasting psychological issues after divorce
Most kids can bounce back from their parents’ divorce with few issues, no matter how old they were when it happened. If the parents’ relationship was abusive, or if they fought frequently, a divorce can even improve their kids’ well-being.
Some children, though, have a hard time recovering from their parents’ separation. They might develop anxiety problems or go through a period of depression. Later in life, some of these children might have problems forming stable relationships of their own. If you think your kids might be experiencing long-term effects from your divorce, it’s best to talk to the experts and get your kids counseling, if necessary.
Divorce is tough for parents, too
If you’re a parent who is considering or going through a divorce, you know that splitting up is no walk in the park for you, either. You might be feeling guilty for splitting up with your spouse instead of trying to make things better. If you’re like most parents, you’re probably also worried about how this will affect your kids in the future. It’s true that divorce is very rarely an ideal outcome for anyone. However, in the long run, it may be better to get divorced than to model an unhappy or abusive relationship for your kids.