If you’re one of many Maryland parents facing major life changes in 2021, you may also be among those who are worried that such changes might have a negative effect on their children. Divorce is a common life change that many families will experience this year.
If you’ve recently decided that this is a best course of action for your own life, there are several things to keep in mind regarding your children’s ability to process their emotions and move on in life. The best thing you can do is build a strong support network from the start so that your children know help is available when they need it.
Issues that may adversely affect children in a divorce
While your family and another may face similar issues, it doesn’t necessarily mean that both families will cope in exactly the same way. In fact, if you have several children in various age groups, you’ll likely notice differences in coping ability within your own household. The following list shows numerous issues that can have an adverse effect on a child who is coming to terms with his or her parents’ divorce:
- Relocation: If your children must move to a new home, especially if it is far away from the home they’ve been living in during your marriage, it may increase the stress they experience in light of your divorce.
- Financial problems: It’s not uncommon for divorce to spark financial distress, which can cause children to feel anxious or worried about their future.
- Parental conflict: This is an issue that can have the greatest impact on children who are learning to cope with divorce.
- Domestic violence: If there is an abuse issue in your family, your children may have an especially difficult time coping with the changes in their lives, even if those changes are to keep them safe.
- Parental substance abuse: This is often an issue that prompts a parent to seek sole physical and legal custody of his or her children in a divorce.
- Legal issues: Children have a tendency to internalize their parents’ problems, which can exacerbate divorce-related stress.
You may have already explained to your children that life is a series of changing events. However, like all good parents, you want what’s best for them and understand that divorce causes disruption in children’s lives, so their well-being and helping them cope is always a top priority.
Tapping into local resources to obtain support
When you notice that a child is having trouble dealing with a particular issue, you can reach out for additional support, as needed, to help him or her process emotions or learn to manage frustration. Your community might have a family support group for people who are navigating divorce.
A minister of faith or licensed counselor, as well as your child’s coaches, teachers or pediatrician, can also play key roles in providing encouragement and support to your kids as your family adapts to a post-divorce lifestyle.