Divorce can be rough, yet that does not mean your divorce will be bad for your children’s mental health. Each child is different, and each family is unique. Divorce could even be beneficial for your child if the current situation between you and your spouse involves a lot of conflicts.
Various studies have tried to assess the impact of divorce on children’s mental health. One suggested it might not be the marital status so much as the quality of the parents’ relationship that mattered. It found that children of parents who later divorced were already more likely to suffer depression, anxiety or behavioral issues than those whose parents stayed together — but the fractured household may have just accelerated problems already present.
Can you reduce the chance that divorce affects your child’s mental health?
Some children, like some adults, are naturally more prone to depression and anxiety than others. If your child is already prone to these issues, take extra care when you decide to divorce. Here are a few tips that you can use with all children:
- Limit conflicts: The more you and your spouse fight about your divorce, the worse it will be for your child. If you need to have heated discussions, find somewhere away from your child to hash things out.
- Limit changes: Divorce requires some change, yet you do not need to change absolutely everything in your child’s life. The more you disrupt their current routine, the more likely they will suffer. Starting a new life in another state may sound appealing, but having to make new friends or enter a new school is tough at the best of times for a child.
- Seek help if needed: Sending your child to a counselor or psychologist does not mean you have failed as a parent. Sometimes we all need a little outside help. Family therapy is also a possible goal, and it can help you and your ex become better co-parents.
As you move forward with your divorce, keeping your mind on your child’s needs can help you make the transition to their new life much easier for your child.