Mar 23 2023
When parents find themselves considering separation and divorce, they often think of the different impacts on the whole family. Monetary, living spaces and even schooling factor in but, often, parents are reassured that children are resilient. While this is true, it is important for parents to understand the emotional impact of separation and divorce and how to help their children cope with it.
There are a number of emotional impacts that you can see in your child during separation and divorce. These can be:
It is important to understand that the age of the child will also have emotional impacts. Young children are more likely to worry about not being loved any longer by one or both parents. Grade school children often shoulder the blame of divorce and teenagers can become quite angry with one or both of their parents. Regardless of age, children often feel fear and confusion around the divorce and separation, along with a high level of stress, which can lead to those behavioral impacts as a result.
Coping with the emotional impacts of divorce and separation are key in helping your child adjust to the new norm in their life. In addition, parents should understand that coping is an ongoing process. Even when kids look like they are fully coping with the change, there can be setbacks that bring new, or old, emotions to the forefront and parents may have to shift the coping mechanisms.
However, we have several coping mechanisms that will help your child cope with the emotional impacts.
Although a lot of our focus is on the impact of separation and divorce on children, it is important to start by looking at the emotional impacts you are facing yourself. No matter how you reached the decision to separate, you will have your own emotional impacts that can include anger, frustration, grief, anxiety and a range of other emotions.
Take time to destress, exercise and look into therapy to help you work through the emotions of separation and divorce. Find the coping strategies that work for you and put them to use daily. By learning how to cope with your emotional impacts, you will model coping strategies to your children.
While this is not directly combating emotional impact directly, it is one of the most important steps that you can take as parents. Divorce affects the entire family, but it is still an adult problem that adults need to find the solutions for. Children should not be involved in this process at all as it adds unnecessary stress for them.
Some ways that you can minimize bringing the kids into the adult problem are:
In the end, maintaining a parenting relationship with your ex-partner that is as free of tension and stress as possible will go a long way in helping your kids cope with the divorce.
Fostering healthy dynamics with your children and your ex-partner enables everyone to cope with the emotional impact of separation and divorce. This can be done in a number of ways.
Before moving on to the final tip, it is important to maintain a healthy relationship with your ex-partner through open communication. The more you communicate in a respectful manner, the better your child’s coping skills.
Consistency is key with coping with emotional impacts. Be consistent with your actions, time and with routines as mentioned above. In addition, establish rules and consequences with your ex-partner in regard to your children. If consequences need to be given, make sure that it is consistent between both households. Studies have shown that consistency, even in regard to discipline, help reduce delinquency in children.
In the end, these are coping strategies that you can use without professional help; however, if nothing is working and your child is still experiencing a lot of emotional distress and negative behaviors as a result, it is important to seek professional help. This help could be through mediators to provide a lower level of tension between parents, or psychological support from a trained professional for your children and even your whole family.
The key to successfully coping with the emotional impact from separation and divorce is in being proactive and getting the support you and your children need.
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