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by Dr. Reena Sommer

Each year, I come across a number of divorcing parents who maintain that their children have come through the divorce process with "little effect". Quite honestly, I find that incredibly hard to believe. Even when divorce represents a change for the better, the bottom line is that it requires change and adjustment for all involved.

Divorce is not a "benign" event. It is not something that occurs without consequence or impact. At best divorce is disruptive and unsettling since the equilibrium that once existed is now changing. Most often, at least one parent leaves the home - meaning that the daily routine for children automatically changes. In other instances, divorce leads to children relocating sometimes in the same community and other times to a new home in a completely different city, state or country.

How children cope with change varies from one child to the other. However, one of the most important factors in their positive adjustment is the degree to which their parents can provide stability - both emotionally and situationally. Children are very responsive to their parents' mood and demeanor - so when parents are upset, it is likely that their children will also be upset.

Some children can be quite deceptive in their physical and/or emotional presentation of dealing with change and disruption. It is in these circumstances that parents often misread their children's lack of complaints or upset and wrongly assume that they are doing just fine. Many children will show their upset by a change in their behavior - crying, irritability, oppositional behavior or sleep disturbances - to name a few. On the other hand, some children cope by retreating from family activities and by throwing themselves into their schoolwork or extracurricular activities. While this may be a less obvious sign of distress and most likely a better way of coping with a situation they have little control over, it should not be assumed that they are unaffected by divorce.

If you are a parent going through a divorce, realize that your children are experiencing change and disruption just as you are - but likely in a different way. Do your best to listen to them, reassure them and be patient with them.

Need More Information?

Everyone's concerns are unique. For that reason, Dr. Reena Sommer offers a brief "no obligation" telephone consultation. Please call her with your questions and concerns at 281.534.3923

custody expert
custody expert
Dr. Reena Sommer & Associates PLLC 蟀
Houston, Texas
PHONE: 281.534.3923