10 signs of crisis & grief in children after divorce

10 signs of crisis & grief in children after divorce

The first time after your divorce usually affects the child in a way that is not positive. When you, as parents, break apart, the child’s life is turned upside-down – the possibility of this happening alone, opens the door to a whole new world. Nothing is safe anymore and there are no guarantees, especially for the very small children, your separation can be incomprehensible and unexpected.

Children’s grief can be difficult to recognize, as they are not grown or practiced enough to deal with, or put into words, their emotions, as adults are able to do.  Therefore, it is important that you, as the parents, are aware of certain signs, so that you can recognize your child’s possible grief after a divorce. 

10 signs of crisis & grief in children

  • Anxiety attacks
    This can also be presented as irrational anxiety and worry, such as not being able to sleep alone, after doing so for a long time
  • Quick emotional shifts
  • Irritability
  • Angry outbursts
  • Sadness
  • Behavioral changes
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Concentrations problems
    These can be expressed, especially, in school
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Physical symptoms
    The most common being headaches and stomach aches. 

Regression by grief

Children often respond to grief and crises by stepping back into developmental states. That is, they can, behaviorally and psychologically ,go back to previous stages of development in some areas. It mostly disappears when the child is over the immediate crisis. If it continues over a long period of time, you should seek help from professionals, such as your own doctor, who can refer you further, or ask for help, in the form of  advice, from schools or institutions. 

Children often feel guilty

Many children struggle with guilt after a divorce and may have a perception that it was their fault in some way. Maybe they have been too noisy, clumsy, not listening, or quarrel too much with their siblings, and therefore their parents have become unfriendly with each other. It’s essential that it is made very clear to the child that the divorce is an adult decision and an adult responsibility, which resulted in the adults being unable to make everyday life work as partners. 

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