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The 5 Stages of Grief Children Encounter After a Divorce

 Posted on November 02, 2023 in Divorce

Fort Worth divorce lawyerDivorce is a trying time for everyone involved. A contested divorce can be even more of an assault on the mental and emotional well-being of both parties. However, no one is more affected than children caught in the middle of a divorce battle. Both during and after divorce proceedings can be especially hard on children looking to cope with the inevitable changes. It is times such as these where an empathetic and compassionate attorney can come in clutch during the divorce process.


The shock of losing what was once normal, day-to-day life can be jarring to a child. It can become overwhelming to know that nothing will ever be the same, so a child will attempt to avoid thinking about what is happening and the grief associated. They ultimately fear reality so much that they choose to take comfort in lying to themselves that “everything will get better” or “nothing will change” to prevent the full impact of the situation. In their minds, separation and divorce are not options, and the issues the parents are facing are only temporary.


Unfamiliar territory, like a divorce, can cause a child to be fearful or angry. They may even feel both if they blame themselves for the outcome. In some situations, they will point their anger in other directions, such as toward one or both parents, other family, friends, or anyone with whom they choose to interact. Angry children may believe the divorce is unfair to them and begin to act out in frustration, anxiety, or irritation.


By now, the shock and anger have turned to depression and grief over their perceived loss. You may notice changes in your child’s eating, social behaviors, and sleeping habits. They may seem sad and, at times, numb to the point where they do not want to interact with anyone or anything. A child in the grief stage is likely to feel trapped by guilt, unable to help the situation or be willing to accept the new normal.


A child now might feel as if they can somehow alter the current situation by attempting to get their parents back together. They may also be willing to give anything to get things back to the way they were before. A child may attempt to negotiate with the parents to try and return to a life the child is more used to, even going so far as to change themselves and their behaviors to see it done. A child in this stage engages in bargaining as a last-ditch effort to return to a semblance of normalcy.


Finally, a child will come to terms with everything that has happened and more or less embrace the future under their current circumstances. They understand that their parents are not going to reconcile; it is no one’s fault, least of all theirs, and everything is going to be okay. Parents who cooperate to reinforce this message will have a better chance of helping their child reach this stage earlier.

Contact a Fort Worth, TX Divorce Attorney

Children should be shielded from the complications and turmoil a divorce often brings. We at the Clark Law Group understand the delicate nature surrounding children in a divorce and can provide an experienced and compassionate Dallas, TX divorce lawyer to assist. Contested or uncontested, a Texas divorce can be challenging for everyone involved. Make an appointment with our office by dialing 469-906-2266 and learn how we can help make the divorce process a little easier for you and your children.

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