Marriage break-ups have almost become a norm today as many people claim to marry wrong. Nonetheless, separation and divorce affect more people than you may think, the immediate ones being the divorcees’ children. The pressure may be too much for them, especially five years and below. They do not have a clear picture of what is going on, which strongly affects them. That is why it is essential to learn about the phases that such young people go through during a divorce.
Like adults, most children find it hard to believe that they no longer see mummy and daddy together. One of the most common things at this stage is that the young one fantasizes about the other partner knocking on the door and seeing a ‘whole’ family again. In most cases, that does not happen, but it can take a while before the child finally admits that. However, in a few instances, there have been cases of divorcees who got back together after mediation divorce discussions with a professional mediator. During the denial period, any attempts to talk to your child may be met with great silence as a sign of ignoring whatever you say. The best approach here is to avoid pushing the kid into discussions but maintain continuous communication.
This is the stage when the kid is vulnerable to doing some crazy things if no one is around to guide them through. The anger and resentment they feel may be directed towards either or both divorcees, their siblings, pets, themselves, and even the entire world. Nonetheless, this is the best time for the parent living with the child to remind them that it is okay to get angry, but they should express it appropriately. It is also advisable to remind the child that both parents love them. In most cases, if you are the parent who was left, you may feel some satisfaction knowing that your child blames the partner who went away. However, discouraging this behavior, attitude, and thoughts plays a pivotal role in ensuring the kid successfully goes through this phase.
The changes that your little child is undergoing as you polish things with their father or mother will take a toll on their feelings. That is why they will try to do all they can to make you or your spouse come back. They can promise to be better disciplined, clean, or even obedient in an attempt to lure the parent back. That is why it is called bargaining. In most cases, the kid somehow blames themselves. That is why you should constantly remind them that they are not the cause of the divorce.
Sadness means that the child is slowly accepting things that will never be the same. However, you should be extra careful during this phase as it can lead to depression. Sadness is essential in helping the kid heal, but there is no specific limit to how long it can last. One of the best ways to overcome this stage is to have some fun time with your child.
This is the most severe of all the stages. Failure to indulge in play is one indication of depression in children. You should have them checked by a doctor, and if everything falls into place physically, it would be appropriate to consult a child therapist.
The above are the significant steps children undergo when their parents separate. However, each child is affected differently, including those from the same household. It would also be appropriate to note that the stages explained above may occur in any order and may be recurrent in some children.