There is no question that divorce hurts. Anger, loneliness, betrayal, sadness, and a sense of loss are common emotions experienced by the husbands and wives who are parties to divorce actions. However, as many know, the pain of divorce is not only felt by the adult parties involved, but children in divorce actions are also negatively impacted. Often times, as parents become increasingly embroiled in the divorce process, the harm suffered by children as a result may be overlooked until the underlying harm suffered begins to manifest itself in the form of behavioral or social issues.
If you are a parent considering divorce in Georgia, or if you are currently going through the Georgia divorce process, below are is a list of three ways your divorce may harm your children. Armed with this information, you may find it easier to address these issues with your children, either directly or via family therapy, to minimize the harm suffered by your children.
1. Loss of stability. Upsetting a child’s everyday routine has the potential to cause that child great insecurity. Having to leave the home, school, friends and other attachments that he or she has known all their life may result in the child feeling stripped of everything that has been meaningful in life. Although parents often look forward to the new beginning that accompanies divorce, parents should be mindful that their children may not be as enthusiastic about such changes.
2. The loss of a parent. Although divorce often does not involve the permanent removal of one parent from the life of the couple’s children, from the perspective of a child, divorce means losing a parent. One parent remains, while the other moves away. Even if the relocating parent remains relatively close, the child may still feel a sense of loss because that parent is no longer present in the household. With this being said, parents should reaffirm, as much as possible, the love that both parents share for the child. Additionally, consistent parenting time schedules should be developed and maintained to re-introduce an element of stability in the child’s life and assure the child that both parents will continue to play an active role in his or her life.
3. The loss of material things. It costs more to operate two households than it costs to operate one. Thus, it is often accompanied by a fall in socioeconomic status for both parents, and consequentially for children as well. It may be hard for a child to deal with the limitations that often accompany financial restrictions. For example, it may be hard for a child to understand why requests for material items such as toys or clothes were previously granted, but are now rejected post-divorce. In an effort to account for this change, children may resent their custodial parent, and blame him or her for the financial hardship experienced by the family. Understanding, discussing and empathizing with your child’s feelings may help him or her overcome these feelings.