How Does Divorce Affect Childrens Mental Health?
Mental health is the totality of our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects cognitive, behavioral, and emotional functioning. It helps us to work well and contribute to the community and is crucial for personal, community, and socio-economic growth and development.
Mental health is sadly the most ignored part of health in society. The neglect is much worse among children when people undergo divorce. Divorce affects children more than the parents, both short-term and long-term. The lifestyle adjustments that come with divorce increase the risk for mental health problems in children of all ages. The impact is heavy irrespective of age, gender, and culture. Children from divorce backgrounds experience enormous psychological problems and significant discomfort. It is a good reason why you should ensure the divorce process does not drag on or turn nasty if children are involved. Getting a family attorney is always a good idea to help with mediation and settlement in such cases. You may be among the masses who always wonder; how does divorce affect children’s mental health? Below are proven facts that will answer your question, inform you and clear your doubts.
Impacts of divorce on the mental health of children
Divorce comes with a lot of lifestyle adjustments which not only affect parents but the children too. A partner may need to immediately move out of the family home and, in extreme cases different city when divorce happens. Moving comes with the search for new rental property and the strain that come with it. Work with a local realtor to ease this burden on yourself and the kids: that will get affected by the new living arrangement. Find a good moving services company to transport the stuff you need to take with you without adding further strain on your partner and the children. Consider that everybody in the family is traumatized by the turn of events.
These new changes will shift the balance within the home and adversely or mildly affect the mental health of your children, depending on how you handle them. When going through a divorce, ask yourself, how does divorce affect children’s mental health? It will help you make better rational decisions that are difficult to make. As you go ahead, it is a good idea to work with family care specialists for the sake of your children. A family pediatrician will direct you to a mental health specialist when you see a problem with your child. Otherwise, blow are ways in which going through a divorce will risk the security of their mental health.
1. Divorce wreaks havoc on the psychological stability of many children.
Before putting your final signature on that divorce paper, it is important to ask yourself one last time, how does divorce affect children’s mental health? Divorce causes significant psychological harm to the mental state of children. The effects are persistent and noticeable and will manifest in emotions and behavior. They experience grave sadness and deep loneliness and may be prone to anger outbursts, tantrums, and other psychologically unhealthy behavior. Children lose their self-esteem, sense of identity, self-confidence, and heightened anxiety. They will be psychologically held captive by the fear of rejection and face tough choices of deciding conflicting loyalties. They harbor more negative feelings and are prone to self-sabotage. Expert research findings from Pennsylvania State University; Department of Sociology concluded that even though this is always the case, the psychological health of such children may improve as they become adults. It further noted that they are less severe among children from high-conflict and pre-divorce family setups.
2. Increases the risk of mood disorders among affected children
Common mood disorders like stress, anxiety, and depression are prevalent in children from divorced backgrounds. Divorce triggers adjustment disorders in children that reduce and fizzle within a few months but can still last a lifetime if left unchecked. Children whose parents divorce before they reach age five are the most affected by depression. The degree is mild for children after the age of ten. Divorce is directly related to increased depression and anxiety in boys and girls of all ages. Boys tend to be more adversely affected by parental divorce than girls and are more depressed. It is a universal case even in instances when the divorce is smooth. In a study by; the National Survey of Children, divorce caused higher incidences of mild and severe mood-related mental health disorders such as mild chronic depression, bipolar, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Children can never understand why their family is separating or why parents stop loving each other. They think they are to blame. The stress is already too much, even for smooth divorce scenarios without bitter custody battles. Hiring a divorce mediator to handle your custody case out of court may be better than a divorce attorney because it allows you to do what is best for your kids as you understand them better than anyone else. It can minimize the degree of these impacts that trigger mood disorders.
3. Causes behavioral disorders tied to mental health
Healthy social interactions and behavior are indicators of good mental health. You may be so concerned about moving out of the hostile home and finding a moving service company for your physical luggage while ignoring the load your children have to bear when you divorce. Divorce may alter the mental state of your children leading to changed behavior. You will note cases of oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD during your teenager. Female children develop eating disorders like anorexia. Withdrawal from friends and family or too much clinginess should set the alarm clock in your head. Sudden impulsive and hyperactive behavior should concern you too. For much younger children, they may regress to bedwetting. Children will react to divorce by attempting to avoid growing or growing at a fast speed. Adolescents will turn to drugs and sexual activity and exhibit hostile behavior as a form of protest. Before you head out to meet your attorney or call in the movers and packers to get out, take note of the behavior change in your children and seek help for them before it is too late.
4. Increases vulnerability to psychotic disorders attacks
Divorce can trigger psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia in children in their mid-teens. The signs can remain hidden and explode after when they turn eighteen and above. Psychotic disorders are mental health problems that though rare, can manifest in your children because divorce leaves their mental state vulnerable to unhealthy attacks. Before you think of moving supplies out of your joint home to start a new page, ask yourself; how does divorce affect children’s mental health?
5. Takes children through a harmful emotional roller-coaster for their mental health
Divorce creates intense emotional turmoil within families, but the children experience it to a higher degree. It is confusing, frustrating, and scary. They blame themselves or one parent or, in other cases, resent both. Children always fill their heads with the idea that it was something wrong they did that has broken the relationship between their parents. Young children will struggle to understand why their parents are living apart and even think it is because the parents stopped loving them. These endless questions and doubts create a cocktail of strong and harmful emotions that take a heavy toll on the state of the mental health of your child. It is like living with too much junk without the hope of ever getting a way to do the junk removal you desperately need. You now have an idea of the emotional instability you need to be prepared for when you ask; how does divorce affect children’s mental health?
6. Triggers devastating divorce-related stress in children
You are asking, how does divorce affect children’s mental health? Children find dealing with loss as stressful as adults do. It is even more complex for them because they have not built the right skills to understand, embrace and deal with loss. Divorce automatically creates a situation where they lose daily contact with one parent, which they have to face. Parents get drawn into the mix, and their stress levels climb. They unknowingly stress their children further. Mothers become less supportive and affectionate after divorce in studies published in 2013. The separation and losses that come with divorce are not the prime cause of stress in some children but other accompanying stressors like changing homes or school, living with one parent, or financial downgrades and struggles. The next time you ask yourself, how does divorce affect children’s mental health? Take time and remember divorce will come with a unique set of stressors and stressful circumstances for you and the children.
How do you care for children’s mental state during a divorce?
The effects of divorce; on the mental health of kids: are life-long. Adults from backgrounds with parental divorce in childhood find it hard to form and maintain relationships. They are self-protective and rarely trust people, which unfortunately exposes them to divorce when they marry. The long-term effects of your divorce and how you handle it to safeguard your children should be at the forefront when you ask yourself, how does divorce affect children’s mental health? Below are several strategies to help you minimize the emotional and psychological toll of divorce on the children:
1. Be intentional about peaceful co-parenting.
Parental conflicts distress children. Divorce can leave bitter wounds and scars that get in the way of civil communication when you disagree but intend to be calm with your partner when you disagree. Never scream at, threaten or show open hostility to your partner, especially before your children. Seek professional help when you realize you are struggling to co-parent with your ex-spouse.
2. Never put your children in the middle of your battles
Making kids choose the parent they like most and giving them damaging messages about the other partner is a terrible idea. You may be doing it out of spite and ignorance, but unfortunately, you are exposing the kids to untold anxiety, stress, and depression. You assume this and stop yourself from asking, how does divorce affect children’s mental health?
3. Purposely maintain healthy relationships
Parental warmth, open positive communication, and minimal conflicts will help your child to adjust better to the divorce. It will build their esteem and stop them from thinking you left because they did something wrong. You may want to be selfish and think it is only about you, but before you do that, take a moment and ponder, how does divorce affect children’s mental health?
4. Be firm, friendly, and consistent with discipline
Divorce will shift the dynamics within the home. It should not affect how kids are disciplined. It may not seem like a pleasant thing to do, but you must take charge. Set age-appropriate rules and consequences and follow them through to reign on delinquency.
5. Keep a watchful eye on your adolescents
Teens whose parents intentionally monitor after divorcing will be less likely to have behavior problems. Responsible parenting does not stop when you divorce. Monitor your child’s company, what they do and how they spend their time to note if any red flags are pointing to unacceptable behavior changes.
6. Be there to empower your children
Divorce will make your children doubt their ability, as discussed earlier. The mental health problems they deal with will require a pillar that can give them the strength to face adversity. Make them stop seeing themselves as helpless victims. Make them feel safe at all times and teach them coping skills. You have to provide reassurance and empowerment.
7. Seek professional help as you go along
Find and enroll in educative programs that will help mitigate the impact of divorce on your kids. Learn about co-parenting and how to reduce stress levels. You need to take care of yourself and never shy from seeking professional help when overwhelmed. Do not fear seeking that help for your kids too.
Knowing that your divorce does not affect you alone will help you ask the all-important question, how does divorce affect children’s mental health? As you look to answer it, you will make the right decisions for your children to cushion your children from the ravages of fallout.