How to help your child survive parental divorce
According to psychologists, more than 1 million children suffer from parental divorces every year. When parents get divorced, much in the lives of children changes, so such events can adversely affect the psyche of children. They have feelings of failure, loneliness and sadness.
Parental divorce causes stress in children. Therefore, parents should take measures to ensure the well-being of their children and help them cope.
How stress from parental divorce affects children
Stress is the reaction of the body to various external events. For example, a divorce of parents can unsettle a child and greatly affect their health and well-being.
The influence of parental divorce on children is associated with factors such as age and individual characteristics of the child. For example, young children may feel personally responsible for divorcing their parents. Stress can affect a child in various areas of life, such as, for example, school performance or relationships with peers.
Children may show various emotional reactions, such as anger, denial, or sadness. They must survive the feeling of losing a family. And parents should help them with this so that the children do not express their feelings on the parents.
Immediately after the parents divorce, the self-esteem in children decreases, anxiety and depression develop. But a large number of such short-term stress factors lead to the fact that the consequences of this event affect them in adulthood.
How to help your child deal with parental divorce
It can be difficult for many parents to tell their children about the upcoming divorce, so they avoid these conversations or put them off until the last. But it’s best to talk to your child right away to avoid uncertainty. Despite a divorce, you should always focus on feelings of intimacy and acceptance of the child.
Children need love and understanding – this will help them cope with the emotional consequences of parental divorce. When you share with children what is happening to you, it helps them prepare for life changes. Understanding the situation, the child does not deny it.
1. Clearly explain to the child what a divorce is.
Parents should explain the situation to their child according to their age. When discussing divorce with a child, consider his age, maturity, and temperament. You can tell your child that your divorce is caused by certain problems, but all reasons are optional.
Perhaps a small child will have to explain everything several times: he still cannot understand or agree that his parents will not live together. Explaining the situation to the child, try not to blame her spouse and not to say anything bad about him.
2. Encourage baby talk
It is important that you motivate your child to talk and ask questions about your divorce. Take time to listen to him when he shares his concerns. Be attentive to what he says and make sure that your non-verbal signals also indicate this. The child wants to be sure that you are trying to understand his feelings and fears about the future.
Do not let your child suppress their feelings about divorce. Children are afraid of how you will respond to their concerns. Instead, let him share with you what worries him most. After that, try to calm him down. For example, some children may feel guilty of divorcing parents. You should assure the child that divorce is not his fault, but your decision.
3. Show your child your love and care
Assuring the child that he is not to blame for your divorce, also convince him that you and your spouse still love him. Let him know that even when your marriage is a thing of the past, he still remains your beloved child.
Sometimes, in order to please parents, children take the side of one of them. Explain to the child that you would like him to remain in good relations with both parents. Moreover, avoid quarrels with the spouse in the presence of the child – show him a good example of behavior in conflicts.
4. Recognize signs of accumulating stress.
Children respond differently to parental divorce. Including they can feel strong sadness. It may take them some time to survive the loss of the family that they are used to. Help your child open up and talk about his feelings, or ask for help from other family members he trusts. This will help the child release hidden emotions.
However, you should pay attention to the signs of accumulating stress in the child. Accumulating, stress can lead to depression. Depression does not occur in schoolchildren in the same way as in adolescents or adults. For example, children may be more active than usual, while a sign of depression is considered to be a breakdown. If the child’s depression does not go away, seek professional help.