“Mommy, are we still a family?” this is just one of the many questions that you, as a parent would encounter when your children begin to understand what’s happening. It’s the most hurtful phase of a divorce because it is so hard to explain to a child why the family that he or she knew is breaking up.
For them, it just doesn’t make any sense at all. So why, if we love our kids should couples still choose divorce over family?
What happens to the kids when parents divorce?
Children and divorce
No one wants a broken family — we all know that but today, there are so many married couples who choose divorce over family.
Some may say that they are selfish for choosing this instead of fighting for their family or choosing the children over selfish reasons but we don’t know the whole story.
What if there’s abuse involved? What if there was an extramarital affair? What if they are no longer happy? Would you rather see your children witness abuse or frequent shouting? Even if it’s hard, sometimes, divorce is the best option.
The number of couples who choose divorce today is very alarming and while there are so many valid reasons, there are also the kids that we need to think about too.
It’s so hard to explain to a child why mommy and daddy can no longer live together. It’s so hard to see a child get confused about custody and even co-parenting. As much as we are hurt, we also need to stand by our decision and do our best to minimize the effects of divorce on our kids.
Effects of divorce with children
The effects of divorce in children depending on their age are different from each other but they can be grouped according to age. This way, parents can better understand what effects they can expect and how they can minimize it.
You might think that since they are still very young that you won’t have a hard time with your divorce proceedings but little do we know that babies have incredible senses and as simple as a change in their routine can cause an outburst and cry.
They can also sense agitation, stress, and anxiety of their parents and since they can’t talk yet, their way of communication is simply by crying.
These little playful kids still don’t know how heavy the issue of the divorce is and might not even care to ask why you’re having a divorce but what they can surely ask in pure honesty are questions like “where is daddy”, or “mommy do you love our family?”
Sure you can easily create little white lies to hide the truth but sometimes, they feel more than what they should and calming your toddler who misses his mommy or daddy is hurtful.
Now, this is becoming more challenging because children are already thinkers and they already understand the frequent fights and even the custody battle can sometimes make sense to them.
The good thing here is that since they are still young, you can still explain everything and slowly clarify why it happens. Assurance, communication, and being there for your child even if you are undergoing divorce will play a huge role in his personality.
It’s already stressful to handle a teen nowadays, what more when they see that you and your spouse are undergoing divorce?
Some teens would comfort their parents and try to work things out but some teens would rather become rebellious and do all sorts of bad stuff to get even with the parents who they think have ruined the family that they had. The last thing that we would want to happen here is to have a problem child.
When parents divorce what Happens to the kids?
Divorce is a long process and it drains everything from your finances, your sanity, and even your children. The effects when parents divorce is just so heavy for some young minds that it can cause their destruction, hatred, envy, and can make them feel unloved and unwanted.
We never would want to see our children do rebellious acts just because they don’t feel that they are loved or that they no longer have a family.
The least that we can do as parents is, to minimize the effects of divorce with the following:
1. Talk to your child if they are old enough to understand
Talk to them along with your spouse. Yes, you’re not getting back together but you can still be parents and tell your children what is happening – they deserve the truth.
2. Assure them that you’ll still stay the same
Assure them that even if the marriage isn’t working out that you will still be his or her parents and you’ll not abandon your children. There can be major changes but as a parent, you’ll remain the same.
3. Never neglect your children
Divorce can be difficult and strenuous but if you won’t show time and attention to your children, they will end up building negative emotions. These are still children; even teens that need love and attention.
4. Consider co-parenting if possible
If there are instances that co-parenting is still an option do—it. It’s still better to have both the parents present in a child’s life.
5. Reassure them that it isn’t their fault
Most often, children would think that divorce is their fault and this is just sad and can even damage them completely. We don’t want our children believing this.
Divorce is a choice and no matter what other people say, you know you’re making the right choices even if it’ll be hard at first. When parents divorce, it is the children who will feel most of the effects and can even have that long-lasting scar on their personalities.
So before you should consider divorce, make sure that you have tried counseling, have given your best and have done all you can to keep your family together. If it’s really no longer possible, at least be there to do your best so that the effects of divorce on your children would only be minimal.