Divorce will completely change your world, and it will also change the lives of your children. Before you make any lasting decisions about your marriage, you definitely need to think about the possible repercussions for the rest of your family.
As hard as divorce may be for you, it may be substantially more traumatic for your children. What will your kids experience as you go through a divorce?
Divorce can cause social, emotional and educational setbacks
Kids often have a trauma response to parental divorces. Their lives seem to change almost overnight. The chances are good that they will have to leave the home they have long lived in, even if it is just when one parent has custody.
Typically, Pennsylvania divorces result in shared custody, which means there will be plenty of opportunities for the parents to argue. For many kids, witnessing the fights and feeling like they get stuck in the middle can be one of the hardest parts of a divorce. They may feel guilty or resentful about the changes in their parents’ relationship.
Children may withdraw from some of their social relationships in response to a divorce. They may also find that some of their relationships change on their own. If they have friends whose parents are religious, for example, those parents may stop scheduling playdates because of your divorce. You will likely also see a change in your child’s grades, with short-term academic struggles being a common issue.
How could you make divorce easier for your kids?
The number one way to minimize how hard divorce is on your children is to agree with your ex not to fight in front of the kids. The less your children have exposure to conflict between their parents, the easier it will be for them to process the changes to their family.
If possible, prioritize keeping the kids in the family home so that they can stay in the same school district. Put a lot of emphasis on their secondary social supports, like close friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. You may also need to think about getting your kids into a support group for children with divorcing parents or even one-on-one counseling with a professional therapist.
Recognizing that your divorce will come with short-term difficulties for your children can help you support them as they learn how to handle life in a shared custody arrangement.