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Grief is normal after child custody changes

The manner in which children will handle the news of their parents’ divorce is different for every Missouri family. Some kids will take these changes in stride, while others may struggle to come to terms with the new structure of the family. A recent article suggests that for some kids, divorce and child custody changes result in the experience of a form of grief. The following outline could help parents know what to expect in the weeks and months following the announcement of a divorce.

In the early stages, kids may refuse to believe that their living arrangements are going to change. They may be in denial about the divorce, and will need a number of discussions before the reality begins to set in. During this time, parents should emphasize that while some things will change, the love between a parent and child is never altered.

Next, kids may move through a period of anger as they begin to think about the changes ahead. They might act out at home or school, and parents must provide plenty of love and support along with the proper discipline during this time. Once the anger has passed, many children will go through a period of sadness. While this is also normal, parents must remain on guard to ensure that their children are not entering into a serious form of depression, which is an uncommon but serious reaction to a divorce.

Finally, kids will begin to come around, and will accept that the family structure is going to change. This can be a very productive time, as the focus can be turned toward the positives of the divorce and child custody changes. Parents in Missouri might want to point out that once the dust has settled, kids will be able to enjoy more one-on-one time with each parent. Each scenario is unique, but there are always silver linings to be found when it comes to moving forward into a new phase of life.

Source:, “Children Go Through the Grief Cycle During Divorce or Separation“, Lisa Poppe, May 13, 2015