The breakup of a family unit is difficult for everyone. If you face divorce, you are most concerned about the effect on your children.
Children react to the split in different ways, but they eventually adapt, depending on the overall process. This is one reason why collaborative divorce, less contentious than litigation, is popular with parents.
Some children accept divorce with understanding, others with anger and some with fear for the future. Be on the alert for signs that indicate your child is having trouble coming to terms with the divorce:
- Pulling back socially: Sometimes, children wonder if theirs is the only family that has ever gone through a divorce. A feeling of insecurity may cause them to lose interest in social activities and in spending time with friends.
- Poor performance in school. The divorce may make children feel bewildered. They become distracted, and the family split turns their normal daily routine upside down. This affects their ability to concentrate, and their schoolwork suffers.
- Health problems: Trying to deal with all that has happened since the breakup of their family leaves many children in a constant state of stress. They may be unable to sleep well and will be more prone to illness than they were before the divorce.
- Feelings of guilt: Younger children, especially, often have trouble understanding why their parents no longer love each other and live apart. Some children believe that they somehow caused the breakup and struggle with feelings of guilt.
- Problems adapting to change: Because of the divorce, children suddenly live between two homes. While this alone is a difficult adjustment, some also have to contend with a new school and new friends, making adapting to life after divorce that much harder.
A viable option
Collaborative divorce is often a good option for people who must continue to employ teamwork in raising their children. It is a shorter process, more civilized and less stressful than traditional divorce. The spouses may be ending their marriage, but they will always be parents. Collaboration sets an example of a viable working relationship that allows the parties to settle their differences in a respectful manner and makes the process of divorce easier to handle, especially for the children.