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How can I help my kids through this divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2023 | Divorce |

Divorce can be a difficult and painful experience for everyone involved, especially for children. Children may feel confused, angry, sad or guilty when their parents decide to end their marriage. They may also face changes in their living arrangements, routines, relationships and emotional well-being. However, there are ways that parents can help their children cope and minimize the negative effects.

Psychological effects

Divorce can have various psychological effects on children, depending on their age, personality and family situation. Children may feel overwhelmed by the stress and uncertainty of the divorce process. They may cry, act out or withdraw from their parents and peers.

Children may cope with divorce by engaging in risky behaviors, such as substance abuse, sexual activity, delinquency or self-harm. They may also have lower self-esteem, academic performance and social skills.

Children may feel angry at one or both parents for breaking up the family or causing them pain. Children may worry about losing the love and support of one or both parents, and about how divorce will affect their future. They may develop fears or phobias, have trouble sleeping or concentrating or experience physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches.

The impact on health

Divorce can also have negative consequences for children’s physical health and well-being. Children of divorce may have poorer eating habits, less physical activity, and more stress hormones than children of intact families. These factors can contribute to weight gain and obesity-related diseases. They may also have more emotional stress and less parental support, which can trigger asthma attacks or worsen asthma symptoms.

How to support your child

Despite the challenges and risks that divorce poses for children, there are ways that parents can help their children cope and thrive. Co-parenting is a form of parenting where both parents cooperate and communicate effectively to raise their child together, even after they are no longer romantically involved. Co-parenting can provide children with consistency, stability and security, as well as a positive role model of how to handle conflict and compromise.

Therapy can be a helpful resource for children who are struggling with the emotional and psychological effects of divorce. Therapy can provide children with a safe and supportive space to express their feelings, thoughts and concerns about divorce. Therapy can also help children develop coping skills, resilience and self-esteem.

Reassurance can help children feel loved, valued and supported by both parents, regardless of the divorce. Reassurance can also help children feel secure and confident about their future. Reassurance can be expressed through words, actions or gestures.