Mitigating the Effects of Divorce on Children
Many children experience the effects a divorce in the family can have, and dealing with it can be traumatic for children of all ages. A mental health professional can help through this process and can lessen the effects of the divorce on the children by looking at what in the process of the divorce is affecting the children, and addressing the specific factors that the children are struggling with.
The divorce itself is not always the only factor that can be traumatic for the children. In many cases, other issues such as not seeing one of the parents as often, seeing their parents in new relationships, changes in the socio-economic status of the family, and transitioning back and forth between each of their parents can be difficult adjustments for the children dealing with divorce.
A mental health professional can help each child to adapt to the changes they will see with the divorce. Often during the divorce process, the children are not given adequate support to deal with the changes they will see – it is important to ensure that the children are properly supported to face the changes that come along with divorce.
To make a divorce the least traumatic as possible for the kids, some of the following suggestions may be helpful:
- Avoid conflict between the parents in front of the children;
- Exercise extreme caution when entering new relationships;
- Both parents should attempt to spend an equal amount of time with the children;
- Children should feel comfortable talking about and to the other parent when they are in the presence of one parent;
- Parents should respect that their relationship with the other parent is not over just because their marriage is – simply changing;
- Parents should avoid using the children as their messenger; and
- The child should be made to feel comfortable turning to either parents for problem solving.
To ensure the least amount of trauma possible for a child during a divorce, parents should ensure appropriate support systems are in place for all affected children. This may include seeking the help of a mental health professional.