Ending a marriage is not a decision to take lightly, and you know how this choice will impact you for years to come. You also understand that your divorce will affect your kids, and like most Pennsylvania parents facing this difficult process, you will want to take steps to protect them as much as possible during this complicated time. With care and thoughtful decisions, you can shield your kids from undue emotional duress and protect their mental health as much as possible.
Kids process their parents’ divorce in ways that are specific to their maturity levels, ages and other factors. No one knows your kids like you do, and you should provide them with support and assistance during this time. Divorce is stressful, but with preparation, you can be certain that you will be preventing unnecessary hardship for the youngest members of the family.
Common reactions to divorce
Each kid will react to and handle divorce differently. The emotional impact of this choice and the stress a child may experience is unique, but kids may feel overwhelmed, uncertain of how their relationship with their parents will change and what will happen in their daily routine. Sometimes, the ages of the kids and their maturity levels will impact how they react to a divorce. The following are examples:
- Teenagers and older children may react with anger, frustration and defiance. They have strong emotions, but they are often hesitant to show them, and they may feel resentful about how the divorce will change their daily lives.
- Elementary-age children may process what is happening in a way that could cause them to think the divorce is their fault. They may feel as if their behavior could be to blame.
- Younger children may feel confused about what is happening, and they may not be able to process what is going on. They may worry that this will change how their parents feel about them.
The effects of divorce can be long-lasting. However, you can handle it in a way that will allow your children to cope more effectively. If you notice that your children are experiencing behavioral changes, mood swings and other struggles, you may also find it helpful to seek additional mental health support. One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to seek a custody and visitation order that provides them with as much stability and security as possible.