How children react to separation

Rightfully so, we can become completely consumed by separation and divorce. It’s pretty much one of the most distracting and life changing events we can go through. It effects our personal life, finances and career. As I have said before, anyone going through divorce can expect their productivity to be reduced dramatically.  You can basically write off a year! Go through it once in your younger years, there is time to recover.  Go through it in your later years, there will be things you will struggle to recover from, i.e. finance!

Dads, i suggest that there is no better time than now to get advice on managing your finances, I read “the barefoot investor” book, implemented every bit of advice and no longer have credit card debt (cut them up) and I feel my finances are now under control, its a book I wish I had of read 10 years ago.

Children play a huge part in how we feel about our self during this period, mainly because we feel guilty.

Some of the most common feelings you will experience will be:

  • Exhausted or resentful
  • Confused about your child’s behaviour
  • Angry if you feel you are getting an unfair deal
  • Lonely when your children are not with you
  • Afraid that your children will not want to be with you and will prefer being with their mother
  • Apprehensive about dealing with family law
  • Good because you have agreed to a parenting plan and your children’s needs are taken care of
  • Thrilled when you have fun with your kids
  • Happy because you have more free time

Did you know children go through the same grieving process? However, because they often don’t understand why it is happening they often feel:

  • Shocked
  • Angry and sad about the loss of the family unit
  • Abandoned or rejected by the parent who instigated the break up
  • Afraid that if one parent has “left” the other one may leave too
  • Confused about whether it is ok to love the parent that no longer lives with them
  • Guilty, in some way the separation must be their fault
  • Worried for the parent who is not living with them

Children often don’t have the words to express themselves clearly, so they show their emotions (grief) in different ways.  They may:

  • Become aggressive or naughty
  • Withdraw
  • Become clingy
  • Act younger than they are e.g. children who have been toilet trained may start wetting or soiling themselves again
  • Have nightmares or find it hard to go to sleep
  • Change their eating patterns

It is important to take things slowly, make patience your best friend whilst everyone is getting used to a new way of living, unfortuately that can take years. Be reassuring, understanding and comforting when you are with your children and know that they too are experiencing loss and grief.  Make them a priority whilst you are also looking after yourself.

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