The Impact on Children Shared Between two Homes
Children encounter many changes when their parents separate or divorce. One of these changes may be adjusting to living in two homes. Living in two homes looks different depending on a variety of factors such as the child’s age, the distance between the two homes, and how frequent the visits between the two homes are.
As children adjust to these changes they may constantly find themselves in transition as they go from one parent’s house to the other. Children may also become confused, frustrated, and feel as if they are not a part of either home as they navigate two sets of rules, two sets of siblings, and two sets of parents. These changes can be stressful and affect children as they try to understand why they have to go back and forth between two homes.
Young children and adolescents may worry that their parent’s separation or divorce is their fault while older kids may blame one or both parents for the problems that led to the demise of the relationship (Morin, 2021).
Children may experience increased mental health problems, behavioral problems, and academic issues following their parents’ divorce. Research indicates that rates of depression and anxiety are higher in children whose parents are divorced. The Morin (2021) website explains that risky behaviors such as becoming sexually active at an early age and substance abuse are more common in children whose parents are divorced. Moreover, children who are separated from their fathers may have a higher number of sexual partners during adolescence.
Adjusting to these changes can be difficult for both the children and the parents. However, parents play a significant role in how their children adapt and cope with these changes. Below are some tips on helping you and your children adjust to these changes:
Avoid placing children in the middle such as using them as a messenger
Develop an amicable co-Parenting plan. Seek professional assistance if this is difficult
Keep discipline consistent. Children crave consistency. Research indicates that appropriate discipline after divorce increased academic achievement and decreased delinquency (Morin, 2021).
Help your children identify and develop healthy coping skills
Participate in parental education. Many classes are available to help newly divorced parents learn to co-parent in a healthy manner
Seek professional help. Taking care of yourself is essential in helping and supporting your child. Consider therapy or support groups that can help you and your family adjust to the changes taking place
Even though divorce is difficult it is sometimes a healthier option than raising children in a home where conflict may be high and the environment toxic.
Even if you are doing everything you can as a parent to help your child adjust to these changes, additional support may be necessary and can provide many benefits.
Individual therapy can provide your child a safe space to talk about and make sense of their emotions, develop healthy coping skills, and help him or her to feel comfortable again. Family therapy may also be helpful as the family adapts to the new dynamics.
At BMS Alignment we have therapists who are experienced in working with children, adolescents, teens, and parents experiencing problems related to changes in the family dynamic as well as issues such as anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Call (657) 999-0052 today or submit a request online to begin your journey and start healing.
Morin, A. (2021). The Psychological Effects of Divorce onChildren . https://www.verywellfamily.com/psychological-effects-of-divorce-on-kids-4140170#helping-kids-adjust