When traumatic events unfold someone will inevitably mumble, “Children are resilient.” The reality is that children experience trauma and it affects them in much the same way that it affects adults. They just don’t always know how to express what they are feeling.
Divorce can be especially traumatic for children. When their parents’ divorce, children may feel sad, guilty, confused or a whole myriad of emotions. That’s why it is important to deliver the news of your impending divorce as gently as possible.
Telling your children the news
When you tell your children that you are getting a divorce it is best to sit down as a family with both parents present. You may not want to be in the room as your soon-to-be ex but this kind of life-changing news needs to be delivered as a unit. This is definitely a time to put the children’s feelings ahead of your own.
Once you’ve shared the news with your children they may have questions. Allow them to ask whatever is on their mind. They may be wondering if the divorce is their fault. Do your best to put their minds at ease and remind them that they are not to blame.
Watch for these signs
Some of the ways in which children can be affected by your divorce include:
- Plummeting grades in school. Your daughter who usually earns straight A’s may suddenly be earning C’s and D’s.
- Withdrawing from social activities. Your child may lose interest in activities or friendships that have been important to them.
- Depression can set in, leaving your once very happy and bubbly child feeling sad and lonely.
Remember to allow your children the time that they need to process the changes that are coming with your divorce. At the same time, you need to take care of yourself. Seeking assistance with the divorce process can significantly reduce your burden.