Whether you’ve grown distant from the parent of your child or you’re thinking about filing for divorce, one major factor you’re probably thinking about is how the separation will affect your children. No matter how old a child is, a parental split can be tough. Their lives are likely to change, and they will need support during this process. Understanding the effects of your split on your kids is incredibly important if you want to reduce the negative impact it has on their life. Here are a few ways a parental split could affect children, key factors, and how you can ensure your child grows up happy and healthy.
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Life After Separation
As an adult, you probably already have preconceived notions of parental life after separation. Whether your child has been exposed to the idea of parental separation or not, through family members or their friends’ parents, it can be a confusing time for them. Simply getting to grips with the idea that their parents no longer love each other can be difficult. However, the prospect of new living arrangements and a change in lifestyle can be terrifying to a child.
Emotional Impact May Differ Depending on the Age of Your Child
The emotional impact a parental split has on a child can vary a lot depending on their age. Furthermore, young kids may not be able to recognize or express their feelings until they are much older.
Effects of Separation
Children up to the age of 18 months may not understand what separation is, but they can feel the tension between their parents. As such, their behavior may change, and they might become more irritable. Those under six years old may have more of an understanding of separation and may require more attention from their parents. They may show their distress by regressing to thumb sucking and may show signs of developmental delays, such as resisting potty training. Children up to the age of 11 may fear losing one or both of their parents, and they may develop a fear of abandonment. They may become more withdrawn, anxious, and sad at home and at school. Teenagers with separated parents may experience a whirlwind of emotions and act out at home and at school.
Avoid Long-Term Effects
You can avoid long-term effects on your children by giving them the adequate support they need and catering that support to their age. Two Healthy Homes offer professional advice to parents going through separation. They can help you become successful co-parents to your children and will give you the resources and tools to help them thrive in life.
Help Your Child Cope
You can help your child cope by identifying the type of support they need. Young children need consistency and familiarity to help reassure them during this confusing time. Older children and teenagers need their parents to be present and play active roles in their life. Take your child’s feelings seriously and encourage them to express their emotions to reduce the impact of parental separation.