Ways to take care of children’s mental health during a divorce
Why? What is divorce? What happens now? These are questions you likely will hear from your children upon breaking the news that you and their other parent will go your separate ways.
But you may expect a lot more challenges as psychological problems may surface. Suddenly, your children must adjust and may experience anxiety and depression.
Counseling and therapy
There is no question that divorce is hard on children. Abruptly, they find themselves in the middle of a push-and-pull scenario between their parents.
Your children may act out through tantrums that you may have never seen before. Their school grades may plummet and their social interactions with you, their friends and classmates may turn awkward or become nonexistent.
They may even want to harm themselves. In some situations, counseling and therapy may help your child.
A key factor is to talk with your children. Communication is essential. In divorce, you will likely have to take some extra steps, too. Here are some of those necessary steps:
- Provide encouragement in discussing their feelings: Your children likely will have numerous questions as they prepare to adjust to a new life filled with changes. Anger, tears, and confusion may surface because they just may not understand. Give them the attention, support, comfort and reassurance that they deserve.
- Firmly let them know that you will remain in their lives: As their parent, you must stress that you will always love them and continue to be present during good times and bad times. Treat them with extra kindness and continue to do enjoyable things together.
- Emphasize that they are not to blame for the divorce: Children are sensitive and vulnerable and may believe the separation of their parents was their fault. Let them know that their parents alone made this decision.
- Consider counseling and therapy: Some children may take the news so hard that may threaten to harm themselves or harm others. Divorce can bring great psychological damage to children. In these situations, consider teaming with school counselors and professional therapists who focus on mental health.
Pay careful attention to your children and guide them through this difficult time. These are just a few things that may help.
Listen, learn and love
The mental health of your children must remain a priority, especially during times of divorce. When divorce surfaces, your children may need additional guidance, so it is important for you to provide an important example. Listen to them, learn from them, and always love them.