It is difficult for a child to watch their parent’s divorce and live separately. This leaves a deep and long-lasting stressful effect on a child’s mental health. No matter what the age is, living in a crumbled family can be quite traumatic. Children are more likely to be affected by the separation because it turns their world upside down. This can lead to the change in the child’s behaviors like denial, irritability and disbelief, and other behavioral problems.
There is no denying the fact that children, more often than not, blame themselves for their parent’s divorce as their first priority is to see both the parents together and happy. Divorce can be a great loss, loss of a family member, or the loss of the life they had. But if children continue to be loved and supported by both mother and father and parents work to create a stable, calm and safer environment for their children, they can emerge through such adverse situations and have good mental and physical health.
Children need a lot of mental and physical support to get through the divorce of their parents. Most of the time parents do not consider the fact that what their child is going through or how it is affecting them. There are multiple factors that parents should consider in order to help and support the children during the timeline of divorce.
Parents should keep legal matters and negativity away from the children because it can not only ruin the mental peace and happiness of the children but their future as well. Most of the time, parents fight or get into arguments in front of the children without noticing what consequences it might bring for a child’s mental health. It might disturb children’s usual routines and they might start to indulge themselves more into the divorce conflicts. In such cases, children get preoccupied with the thoughts of their unhappy parents which makes them unable to work on themselves and other productive activities. Both parents should be vigilant enough in the upbringing of their child which will keep them together and strengthen the child-parent bond even more. Moreover, a child’s emotional, physical, and psychological needs must be met as a gesture of support through this rough patch.
Parents must reassure their children that whatever happens between them is not their fault and both of the parents will continue to love their children just the same as kids often misunderstand divorce as sort of punishment for something they have done wrong. It is better to communicate with the child in an age-appropriate manner and clear any misconceptions they have. It will assist them in doing better in the future and understanding the core of the problem rather than blaming themselves. Both parents should consider the fact that even after the divorce, keeping a good and friendly relationship in front of the child will do wonders for their growth process. Keeping in touch with the children gives them a sense of security and belongingness which is a crucial need at an early age. Parents need to provide a safe and comfortable environment for their children so that they feel calmer. Once the children see that everything is coming back to normal, they will mostly come out of the dilemma of separation and embrace reality.
After the divorce, many of the parents force their children to take sides and this leads to nothing but a child having hatred against one parent or another parent. Ridiculing and belittling each other can have an obstructive impact on children’s reactions to the situation. Each parent should act as confidantes in front of their children to make it easier for children to keep loving both the parents.
Planning some family events where both parents can join and take their children out to a park or lunch will give the kids the feeling that they are being supported and life will go on as usual. Parents should maintain reliable arrangements, stick to usual and familiar routines and activities, and minimize the change in the life of the child. Parents should also makeup to their children and do not make any false promises that they cannot keep because in this way children assume that their parents do not love them anymore.
Moreover, parents should communicate with the children and ask them about their feelings and urge them to speak about it because it leads to better communication between them and helps in minimizing the stress and tension. Parents should listen and validate the feelings of their children and offer emotional support for speaking their hearts out. Bottling up emotions can result in dangerous consequences like addiction or suicidal ideation. After the divorce, even if the child goes out with other parents, greet them with a smile.
Parents must try to avoid giving any cues which may be pointing toward tension and hatred. Do not make the children feel alone during this time of crisis. In many cases, children often feel torn during the divorce of their parents because sometimes, the mother tries to take the child away and likewise father does the same and this leads to further problems with the child. Most times, parents lack to notice that the child is most affected by the divorce as they are occupied in their own troubles and emotional traumas.
After the divorce, parents should talk directly with each other rather than sending messages through their children. Children must not suffer through any extra burden put on them because of parental divorce. Parents should let children recognize their feelings and encourage them to be expressive about their feelings because it will give them a lot of opportunities to help and fix things. Parents should be observant about their child’s coping strategies. If the child is unable to handle the situation well enough, they must get some professional help until things get better. Most importantly, parents should tell their children that they are loved. Over time, trauma gets manageable if dealt with care and attention.
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