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Separation Secrets: How Divorce Can Affect Your Older Kids

Divorce can be difficult for children of any age. While many people feel that a parents’ separation is hardest on small children, it can be equally difficult and cause a different set of challenges for older children. If you are going through a divorce or separation, you may find that your older child:

May Have Behavior Changes

Teenagers are already trying to navigate through their adolescent years, and the effects of a divorce may cause a change in personality or general behavior. They may become more sullen, withdrawn, or introverted while trying to deal with what is going on around them.

May Become Aggressive and Act Out

While some teens may tend to withdraw and close up, others may become aggressive as they are unaware of how to handle their anger and resentment. Some teens may actually act out violently and start getting into fights or other trouble at school or at home.

May Begin to Perform Poorly at School

Sometimes teenage children may experience a drop in grades during a divorce. This could be caused by stress from the divorce, loss of one parent in the home, or from moving or changing schools. It could also be part of the child withdrawing and finding no purpose to the studies, feeling that what is going on around them at home is more important.

May Feel Like They Need to Grow Up Quickly

When a divorce occurs, your teen may feel that they have to grow up suddenly. This could be abstract as they have to now deal with adult emotions and problems that the divorce may cause, or could be more concrete, such as taking on a new role in the household especially if there are younger siblings. An Albany child custody lawyer recommends getting legal counsel if the children need extra care during this time.

May Feel They Need to Choose a Side

More than young children, teenagers will often feel that they are compelled to take a side. The parents may talk more openly in front of the teenager, as they may feel they can handle it, and this can cause the teen to become part of the arguments. Additionally, parents may try to sway the teen to want to spend more time with them, since they often have a voice and a say in where they decide to live.

May Feel Like it is Their Fault

A teenager is more likely to feel that the divorce is a result of perhaps their bad behavior, or stress that their lives may have caused their parents. Be sure to watch for these signs and help them feel loved and supported in whatever environment they happen to be in.

Divorce can be difficult in any stage of a marriage, especially when children are involved. If you are thinking about divorce, contact a divorce attorney to find out more information on how to make the proceedings better for all parties involved.


Tim Esterdahl

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