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Un-Alienating Children After Divorce Part 1

No one goes through a divorce without some emotional trauma. Even if you were the one who wanted to get the divorce, there is always going to be a feeling of loss of something you once had. After all, you didn’t get married with divorce in your mind. The emotional trauma is felt by both spouses, and it could manifest as sadness or anger. However, it’s not just the spouses embroiled in a divorce that will be going through a lot of stress, consider the children after divorce and how they feel.

This is a two-part article, and in the first part, we’ll be looking at some of the things that your kids are going to be going through and feeling during the divorce, so you will have a better understanding. We’ll also touch on a few of the things that you could be doing better, and why you need to give your children time to grieve the divorce before they will be ready to move on.

How Are Your Children Faring?

If you have children, they are dealing with the same things, only they don’t have the tools to understand how to deal with their stress or the way they are feeling. Divorce can take a serious toll on the kids, and it can sometimes lead to them feeling depressed and alienated. It’s important to understand the mental state of your children after divorce and to find ways to help them through this tough time. Consider some of the ways their lives are changing and how it is impacting them.

They Feel They Are Losing Their Family

Although they still have both of their parents, those parents are no longer going to be living with them full-time. The family unit—which they have known for their entire lives—is splitting apart. It threatens their stability, and it shows them that the world is not always what they want it to be.

Naturally, this is going to bring up a lot of fear and anxiety. They wonder where they will be living, where they are going to be going to school, whether they will still get to see both parents, etc. Younger children often feel afraid and unsure, and this can sometimes cause them to act in ways that are not in line with their typical personalities. Children don’t always have a peer group they can talk to, and they may not always know how to express themselves and how they are feeling.

With teens, this can manifest as anger about what the parents are doing It can sometimes lead to risky behaviors, such as substance abuse, drinking and driving, etc. The more stressed the teens are, the more likely they are to get into trouble.

Parents May Not Be As Attentive

Divorce can eat up a lot of your time, energy, and thoughts. Even though you love your children, there is a chance that you aren’t paying them as much attention as they need. You are trying to deal with your own emotions and stress, and it becomes easier to be distracted. You may not be paying as much attention to your kids as you did before. Sometimes, it can cause you to become more irritable and harsher with the kids. The children can even feel forgotten.

If you have relatives in the area, such as your parents and your siblings, it can be a good time for them to step in and be supportive of the kids. This can give the kids a bit more stability and make them feel better, without continuing to put stress on you.

Children Need Time to Grieve the Loss

One of the things that you have to understand about divorce is that it’s one of the most traumatic things that your children will go through. Even though you might be thrilled at the prospect of no longer being married, and you are excited about all of the new things that you can do with your life, you need to give the children time to grieve the loss of their parent’s marriage. They are going through changes in their life, too, and they are not going to be as excited about it as you might be.

You have to make sure you are continuing to focus on your children after the divorce. Make sure they know that they come first. Even though you might have a new partner that you are excited about and that you love spending time with, don’t forget about your kids and how important they are. Children after divorce often need a reminder that they’re still your main focus, even while you try to put yourself back together.

Don’t be surprised if they are not as happy and thrilled about this new life, or your new partner for that matter. They are still adjusting. This is especially true with older children who have spent so much time as part of the family unit.  Give them the time they need.

You should also keep in mind that your ex probably isn’t thrilled about the situation either. They may feel like they’ve been replaced, even if it’s been some time since the divorce. They are more likely to try to get the children on their side, which can lead to a host of problems, which we will discuss in Part 2 of the article.

To help alleviate problems, it tends to be a good idea to wait a little while before you introduce your kids to someone new in your life. By waiting about a year before they meet your new partner, it gives them time to get more accustomed to the changes that the divorce has brought into their lives. They will often be more receptive and will not typically feel the same level of anger or stress that they would have if you introduced them a month or two after the divorce. A little time and healing can make all the difference in the world.

In the second part of the article, we will be looking into the problems that can come from loyalty tests and trying to get the children to be on “your side” during the divorce.


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