Mom comforting son

How Does Divorce Affect Children?

Deciding to end your marriage is heartbreaking, but deep down, you know that you’ve made the right choice for your family. Even if you remind yourself that you’re taking the best course of action, this news can be tough for the kids.

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Our Nebraska family lawyers dive into the many ways divorce affects children and how you can help them cope.

Prepare for Varied Emotions

No two child is alike, so there’s no predicting how your own will react. Kids often feel anger, confusion, anxiety, sorrow, panic, and many others. Unlike adults, adolescents aren’t old enough to understand the meaning behind the divorce decision. Most often, their emotions arise from fear of abandonment or loss of control. Some of these feelings may be directed inward, as they blame themselves for the demise of their parent’s relationship.

The most important thing you can do is be the person that they need most.

Poor Academic Performance

A divorce is a life-changing event, which can cause stress and anxiety. These interruptions can be particularly difficult to manage. The changing dynamics can leave children distracted and confused, leaving less time to focus on school work.

Lack of Interest in Social Activities

You may notice your little one withdraw socially, refusing to hang out with friends or attend events. This is not your imagination— research has suggested that divorce affects children socially. They may fear judgment from those who cannot relate and other insecurities. Boost their confidence and urge them to come out of their shell again by giving them the assurance they need.

Health Problems

Dealing with a divorce can take a toll on children, including physical and mental health problems. You may notice changes in their eating or sleeping habits. The stress of it all may also lead to feelings of depression and anxiety. Enlisting the help of a licensed professional is critical.

Relationship Struggles

Studies have shown that kids with divorced parents could end up in the same position as adults. The reasoning behind this idea is that the split might change a child’s attitude toward relationships in general.

Self-Destructive Behavior

Divorces are stressful, and some adolescents may even resort to alleviate the pressure through dangerous behaviors. They may participate in drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and abusing prescription drugs. This is why the way you handle your divorce is crucial. Although it won’t erase all pain and stress, it can help minimize the risk of them doing something harmful in the future.

Helping Kids Cope with Divorce

While these are possible effects of divorce, they are by no means absolutes. You can help them navigate this transition successfully and reduce stress and conflict.

  • Encourage them to open up. Kids may be hesitant to come to you out of fear, confusion, or hurt. No matter what the reason is, explain to them that they’re in a safe place and they can come to you with any feelings. Then, most importantly, listen with open ears.

  • Try to eliminate conflict between you and your ex. Divorce isn’t innately damaging to kids, but it’s the conflict. Fighting in front of your kids and making them choose sides will lead to more harm. Try not to engage in disputes or make sure they do not witness it.

  • Reach out for help. This is not a journey that you need to walk alone. Your friends and family will be there to support you and your children. Discuss matters with their pediatrician or mental health professional if they display warning signs. Lastly, let a skilled divorce attorney help you through the process. At Reagan, Melton & Delaney, L.L.P., you can rest easy knowing that you will have a team on your side who truly cares about you and pursuing your best interests.

Schedule a consultation today with our Sarpy County divorce lawyers by calling (402) 226-1899.