When the family unit breaks apart, everyone reacts differently. You are likely most concerned about the effect of divorce on your children, but kids are not always easy to read.
Depending on their ages and emotional makeup, some children may be understanding to the extent possible, while others may struggle with acceptance of the new status quo. Here are six situations that should raise red flags.
1. Feeling guilty
It is common for children to feel that they must be responsible in some way for their parents’ decision to divorce. You may have to repeatedly reassure them that they were in no way at fault.
2. Heightened emotions
Divorce can result in children going through a wide range of emotions. They may feel a deep sense of loss and anxiety about the future. They need to talk about their feelings with someone, and you can be there for them.
3. Poor marks in school
Watch for a letdown in academic performance. Divorce can be very distracting for children as they try to adjust to this disruption in their normal routine.
4. Lack of interest in activities
Your children may wonder if theirs is the only family that has experienced a breakup. They may find it difficult to relate to others, especially those who still have “normal” family lives, and may prefer to withdraw from social interaction.
5. Angry response
Anger about the divorce is common, especially among young teens. Children may target anybody they see on any given day: you, the other parent, extended family or friends. The anger should dissipate in a few weeks’ time; otherwise, you may want to seek professional help.
6. Health problems
Following the divorce, be aware of an increase in health issues. Children may exhibit ongoing signs of stress, may have trouble sleeping and show signs of depression. Again, you may need to seek professional help to get them back on track.
A family law attorney will tell you that there are always bumps in the road after a divorce. Each family is unique, and so are the obstacles parents and children face. If the obstacles seem insurmountable, you can reach out for caring, responsive professional support to help get family relationships back on a steady course.