Expressing your feelings can be hard even as an adult, but it is even harder for your children to express their feelings when their parents end their marriage.
Kids might be great at letting you know how they feel about you turning off the TV or refusing them an ice-cream. Yet, telling you how they feel about mom and dad splitting up may be beyond them. In part, because they might not even understand how they feel.
Children may express their feelings about divorce through their actions
If you have a 17-year-old daughter, she might tell you what she thinks in no uncertain terms about you leaving mom for another woman. What she might not tell you is that deep down, she thinks that if you left her mom, you might abandon her, too.
Here are some signs that all is not well with your child. They can vary due to age, personality and other factors:
- Anger: Whether your toddler is pulling the arms of his favorite toy or your teenage daughter fighting at school. Anger may be their way to express what they do not have the emotional maturity to articulate.
- Withdrawal: Your children may step back from you, their friends, their schoolwork, or from activities they enjoy.
- Hedonism: If your child (particularly a teen) dives into “party” mode, it is not because they are celebrating your divorce. They might be trying to obliterate the thoughts and feelings your divorce causes.
Divorce is hard for any adult. It is even harder as a parent. You need to care for your children as well as yourself. The easier you can make the divorce process, the better for all involved. One way you can do this is to use mediation to settle conflicts between you and your spouse that could otherwise lead to litigation.