A divorce is a welcome event for some people, but it can be downright traumatic for others. One thing that many adults don’t think about is how the split might impact the children. The answer to this varies greatly because some children cope well and others have serious, long-term effects that they will have to work through.
Older children will likely be able to understand the divorce and the fact that it doesn’t mean that one parent is going away forever. Younger children might not be able to process that information. This could lead to issues with stress, including separation anxiety. While this condition isn’t uncommon in younger children, it might be more pronounced and frequent when their parents split up and end a marriage.
Separation anxiety can come from a state of panic that is due to thinking that one parent isn’t going to come home or that they will never see their parent again. People will sometimes claim that a child has separation anxiety, but the true mental health definition of this condition is much more extreme than what most kids will face.
Your children might have trouble sleeping alone or being away from you for even a few minutes. They might claim that they are sick when they really aren’t. These can make it hard to adjust after the divorce. One thing that you can do to help them is to explain what is going to happen.
For example, explain to them (in age-appropriate ways) how custody will work after the divorce. Prepare them for when they will go to the other parent’s home. Make sure that you let them know how long they will be there and when they will be back. This might help to minimize the effects of the divorce on them. Getting help from a counselor or another professional might also be beneficial if the condition persists.