Divorce is a serious and significant life event. It is one that can have profound impacts for everyone involved – whether the direct parties involved, their extended families or, most importantly, their children. Parents who choose to separate are likely to experience emotional turmoil and stress, which can in turn lead to negative effects on their children’s psychological health. This is to say nothing of the logistical and administrative pressures, which can also become a heavy burden.
As such, it is essential to manage the psychological impacts that divorce can have on children during the process and to protect them during this uniquely challenging time. But what effects are there to look out for, and how can they be managed effectively?
What are the Psychological Effects of Divorce on Children?
Divorce can affect children in various ways, dependent on different variables such as age, personality and emotional intelligence. Younger children, for example, may struggle with separation anxiety, and find difficulty in understanding why their parents are no longer together. Adolescents, meanwhile, might experience feelings of anger and rejection over the dissolution of the family unit. Some may even hold themselves accountable for their parents’ difficulties, leading to low self-esteem and self-worth.
These complex emotions can give way to more tangible impacts, as in the case of feelings of insecurity. Children of divorce might experience higher likelihoods of night-time incontinence, nightmares and behavioural issues. It is safe to say, then, that divorce is a serious and potentially dangerous life event for children. In what ways might you approach managing the process and therefore the effects of divorce on children?
Seek Professional Legal Counsel
Divorce proceedings are unavoidably complex and emotionally challenging as a result. It is vital to seek professional legal counsel to guide you through the process, helping you to make informed decisions that benefit your children. This might be through mediation and negotiation of a smoother divorce process, that protects your children’s interests as a priority.
Keep Communication Open
It is essential to keep the lines of communication open between you and your children throughout the divorce process. Be honest with them about what is happening, and reassure them that both parents still love and care for them. Encouraging them to express their feelings and concerns can be a helpful route to take.
Create a Safe and Stable Home Environment
Children need a safe and stable home environment to thrive; this couldn’t be truer than during the disruption of divorce. As parents, try to maintain a consistent routine – and avoid making any significant changes that may further disrupt their lives. Create a comfortable and secure home environment, free of conflict, where your children feel loved and supported.
Seek Professional Counselling
Professional counselling can provide a safe and supportive environment for children to express their feelings and emotions, outside of what may be a fractious home environment. counselling can also help children learn coping skills to manage any emotional or behavioural issues that arise from the divorce.
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