Children react to divorce differently. Older kids may appear to take it well because they can understand it better, while younger children may find it difficult to adjust.
As a parent, you can watch for signs that your children are struggling with the reality of your divorce, and you can be ready to help.
Issues relating to others
If your children are usually outgoing, they may withdraw from social activities after the divorce. They may find it difficult to talk about the family breakup and wonder if they are the only ones who have experienced anything like it.
Divorce means big changes in the normal routine, which children will often find very disruptive. They may become distracted or lose focus on their schoolwork, and you might observe that their academic performance is suffering.
It is not unusual for children to become sick more often after a divorce. The situation is stressful for them, and stress can lead to health issues. Young children especially may have trouble going to sleep. You might also see signs of depression in children of any age; often, they are experiencing a sense of loss because the family unit they were used to is gone.
Anger and rebellion
Be prepared for irritability or outright anger in older children, teens especially. Know that their anger may be directed at you, at themselves or even at others who played no part in your divorce. A teenager may also become rebellious, and you will have to be on the lookout for smoking, alcohol and drug use and the like.
Children may feel overwhelmed by the divorce and having to adjust to a new kind of life. They may become emotionally sensitive, and it will be important for them to talk about their feelings and connect with someone who will listen.
A divorce affects everyone in the family, and an experienced attorney will tell you that there will likely be repercussions for many years. This is especially true for your children. Depending on how they react, adjustment to the breakup of the family unit may happen fairly quickly or take a very long time. Your job is to be there for them in whatever way you can.