A child’s world is their family, their friends, school, and the comfort of consistency. A divorce is, without a doubt, one of the most challenging life events a child could go through. Their usual routine is often replaced with shuffling between two residences and seeing each parent go through a grieving process. As hard as you may try, there is no way to shield a child completely from the stress that a divorce causes. The key to helping your child is to be able to identify the signs of stress and anxiety early. Here are a few things to look out for:
Anger or Frustration
Children have little control over their lives. It is incredibly frustrating to them that their environment is changing so drastically, and there is nothing they can do to change it. While some anger and frustration is normal, especially at the start of the divorce process, lasting and strong emotions may need to be addressed by a professional.
Decline in Grades
While some children are very vocal about their difficulty in processing a divorce, others suffer in silence. A child may seemingly seem to have adjusted but cannot focus on schoolwork. If you notice a sharp decline in your child’s grades, it could be a sign that they aren’t handling the divorce well. Keep in touch with your child’s teacher so they can report any sudden changes in your child’s academic performance.
Symptoms of Anxiety
It is normal for a child to be anxious during a divorce, especially in the very start. However, if fears start to spill over into other areas of life, help may be needed. Anxiety can manifest itself as either a fear of the future, feelings of abandonment, or as physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Your child may also regress in behavior like thumb sucking or bed-wetting. If you notice any of these issues, it may be time to consult a child behavioral expert.
Mediation can make the divorce process less stressful on everyone, including your children. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation, contact the West Coast Family Mediation Center today!
by: Amanda Singer