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How Can I Protect My Child’s Mental Health Through Divorce?
28 Jan, 2023
Child Custody

How Can I Protect My Child’s Mental Health Through Divorce?

Children going through a divorce can face many challenges, including mental health struggles. SLG Family Law is committed to helping families through every step of the divorce process, including ensuring the well-being of any children involved. Our team has extensive experience and is dedicated to providing our clients with exceptional family law services.

Divorce is difficult, but parents can take important measures to ensure they stay connected with their children during this complicated time.

How does divorce impact children’s mental health?

Keeping a child’s best interest in mind is of the utmost importance if you are in the middle of a divorce involving children. Children don’t choose divorce, but it is best for the family in many situations. Despite keeping our children’s best interests in mind, protecting our children from mental health issues isn’t always possible during or after a divorce. World Psychiatry Journal published a study citing evidence to suggest that parental separation and divorce can cause adjustment issues in children. Some of these issues include:

  • Reports of a depressed mood
  • Academic difficulties (e.g., lower grades and school dropout).
  • Disruptive behaviors (e.g., conduct and substance use problems).

The same study found that children from divorced families are twice as likely to experience psychiatric problems as children from intact families. Despite the evidence suggesting children are more susceptible to mental health issues due to a divorce, amicable parents who are dedicated to helping their children may find that their efforts are rewarded with happy, healthy, well-adjusted children.  

Here are three ways to help protect your child’s mental health during a divorce.

  1. Do not speak negatively about your ex in front of your child or children.

Children can be very wise and understand more than we give them credit. When you speak badly about your ex-spouse in front of your children, they can interpret it as a personal attack. Hearing you talk badly about your ex can damage your child’s self-esteem. It is beneficial for a family to partake in family therapy with a licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT) to move through this difficult time together and gather tools to help you as a family now and in the future. 

2. Work to keep your children on a consistent schedule. 

As a parent, one of the most important things you can do for your child is to provide consistency in their schedule. When keeping a consistent schedule regarding when they switch houses, you’ll help your child feel secure and content in their surroundings by providing consistency. 

3. Help your children process their emotions by offering honesty and openness.

Honesty is the foundation of a good parent-child relationship. Being honest with your kids is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. Creating a space where they feel comfortable sharing their feelings is essential. You can ask them how they are doing and remind them they don’t have to feel wrong about anything they might be feeling. Let them know it’s okay to share their feelings with you and that you will always be there for them.

Call our family law attorneys at SLG law today.

Although divorce is tough on families, staying together for the sole sake of the children may not be the best option. Children who live in homes with a lot of arguing, hostility, and discontentment may be at a higher risk for developing mental health issues and behavior problems. Consequently, following parental separation, it’s normal for kids to struggle with their feelings and behavior immediately afterward. 

If you are considering a divorce and are concerned about how it will affect your children, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We will work with you to create a plan that minimizes the impact on your children’s mental health and gives them the best chance for a bright future. Contact us today to discuss your options during your free initial consultation. 

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