Divorce is rarely easy on anyone; in fact, the opposite is usually said to be true. Getting a divorce can be one of the most difficult times in a person's life. Sadly, divorce affects more than just the two spouses, especially when there are children. Children are deeply affected by their parents' divorce, and can suffer from the heartbreak for years or even a lifetime. It stands to reason that a divorcing couple in Arizona will want to shield their children from these negative effects and help them transition smoothly to life after the split.
Children of different ages process divorce in different ways
Parents may not realize that younger children usually react to their parents' divorce much differently than older children, and vice versa. According to Web MD, it's not uncommon for younger children to regress in behavior after their parents split up. For example, a toilet-trained child may begin wetting the bed again or having accidents during the day. Younger children can become more dependent on their parents and other adults, and may even blame themselves for their parents' divorce.
On the other hand, older children are more likely to be angry with their parents for the divorce, and can increasingly rely on their friends for support instead of either parent. While they may appear more independent, they can develop problems in school and socially, and they may start acting out. Children of any age can develop problems with their self-esteem, as well as trust and relationship issues that may make it difficult for them to have healthy relationships as adults.
How can parents help avoid these problems?
Despite these difficulties, parents need not despair that their children will grow up with lasting issues. One of the best ways to help children recover from a divorce is to reassure them that they are still loved by both parents, and the divorce was not their fault, says Kids Health. Other important ways to handle divorce issues regarding the children are:
- Refraining from bad-mouthing the other parent or using the children as a way to pass on messages or "get back" at each other.
- Encouraging the children to strengthen their relationship with the other parent with quality parenting time.
- Staying consistent with family routines, traditions, rules and consequences.
Additionally, it's important for parents to realize when a child is having an especially difficult time adjusting, and to get help from a therapist when needed. When divorced parents take the time to listen to their children's thoughts and fears, and to reassure them that they are still loved and cared for, they stand a much better chance of helping children grow up without lasting problems.
Contacting an attorney
If you're considering divorce, it can help to contact an experienced family law attorney, who can ensure the best interests of your children are considered.