When you want to know the impact of divorce or your legal separation from your spouse on the psychology of your children, you must understand that you can know only about the tendencies. Even experts cannot say with certainty the real impact.
Differences In Impact On Small Children And Adolescents
Firstly, you must understand that your separation from your spouse will bring in major changes and challenges in the lives of your children. But, responses of children may vastly differ according to their ages. The responses of children who are still in childhood may be different from those who have become adolescents. In general, there may be an impact on the intensity of dependency of the children. In adolescent children, the process of they becoming independent may get accelerated. They may become aggressive whereas, in small children, there may be a regressive response.
In the case of small children, they are dependent and you and your spouse have been their close and favored “companions.” But, adolescents may have started becoming independent and their friends, not parents, are their favored companions. So, the social life of adolescent children extends beyond their family. So, small children may face major disturbances because their very dependency on their parents gets shaken. These children have to move from one parent to another and this induces insecurity and creates instability in their minds. Young children may fantasize that their parents may re-unite but, adolescents may reconcile to the realities of the changes in their lives that have occurred due to the divorce of their parents.
Expect Regressive Response From Small Children
Psychology experts warn that small children may become anxious because they may not have ready answers to many scary questions related to their lives. That is the reason for their regressive response to the legal separation of their parents.
Small children may start adopting tantrums, whining, etc. for having more attention from the parent with whom they live. They may cry, stop adopting the self-care skills they have learned and try all the ways that may get them more attention. But, unfortunately, the parent with whom they are living may be busier than ever due to the divorce and so, when the parent is not able to make himself or herself available, the children may become more and more regressive.
Expect Aggressive Response From Adolescents
In the case of adolescent children, they may become aggressive and rebellious, start disregarding family discipline and may begin adopting ways for taking care of themselves. They may even tend to hurt their parents with their distant and defiant behavior. There may be more self-interest in them, according to psychology experts.
Harness The Aggression Of Adolescent Children
Psychology experts advise parents to adopt patience and try to harness the self-interest of these adolescent children. They must entrust to them more responsibility because they can now independently take care of themselves. Separated spouses should see that the family order is restored or re-established and there is predictability in the family affairs. They should establish routines including visitation routines as well as rituals and should also reassure children that they can rely upon them for all the assistance they may need. Children should know that the love of the parents towards them is as strong as ever.
Psychology experts insist that all these suggestions are intended to make the new lives of the children smooth and easy.