Divorce and Children- Warning Signs
Many children experience their parents’ divorce with relatively few problems, while others have a very difficult time. It’s normal for kids to feel a range of emotions. It is important to remember that for most children time, love, and reassurance from both parents should help them to recover. If your kids remain overwhelmed, however, you may need to seek professional help.
Children’s Normal Reactions to Divorce
The following reactions can be considered normal for children.
Anger. Your child may express their anger, rage, and resentment with you and your spouse for “destroying their family”.
Anxiety. It’s natural for children to feel anxious. Upset stomachs and crying are normal occurrences.
Mild depression. Sadness about the family’s new situation is normal. Temporary feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are common.
It may take some time for your kids to work through their issues about the separation or divorce, but you should see gradual improvement over a short period of time.
Red flags for more serious problems
If things get worse rather than better over several months, it may be a sign that your child is stuck in depression, anxiety or anger and could use some additional support. Watch for these warning signs of divorce-related depression or anxiety:
• Sleep problems and nightmares
• Trouble concentrating at school
• Drug or alcohol use
• Self-injury, cutting, or eating disorders
• Frequent angry or violent outbursts
• Withdrawal from loved ones
• Refusal to participate in previously enjoyed activities
Discuss these warning-signs with your child’s doctor, teachers, or consult a child therapist for guidance on coping with these more serious problems.