Did you know that children are affected not by their parents separating but by the conflict and struggles of parents to work together after separation.
See this weeks blog for the affects on pre-school children aged 2 – 5 years.
• Confusion, anxiety and fear: young children may be very confused about the changes in their family life, if parents are unable to explain the changers to children of this age.
• Strong reconciliation fantasies: children cling to hopes that their parents will get back together again. They may make up fantasies to comfort themselves.
• Increased aggression: the children’s anger often stems from their feelings of loss and rejection. Their sense of loss when one parent disappears from their lives often unaccountably, may lead to aggressive behaviour towards siblings, parents and in school. The remaining parent may be so preoccupied that the child receives less attention from this parent as well, increasing their sense of loss and rejection.
• Guilt feelings: Young children may imagine that they are to blame for their parents not getting on together. They may assume that their own naughtiness was the reason for a parent leaving them.
• Regression: Children may demonstrate their anxiety and insecurity by lapses in toilet training, reverting to bed-wetting, showing increased clinging behaviour.
• Increased fears – of the dark, for example – or developing feeding problems. Parents who are already strained may find these behaviour problems very hard to understand and tolerate.