The Impact of Divorce on Children’s Mental Health

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In today's contemporary world, divorce is a normal aspect that many families endure and there shouldn't be any shame in it. However, as a marriage starts to crumble, some parents find themselves asking questions like, “should we stay together for the kids? “It is undeniable that children are affected by their parents decision to divorce. According to psychologists the way children reacts when their parents’ divorce is highly variable.


How Does Divorce Affect Children Mentally?

Divorce can have various mental and emotional effects on children including:


Dealing With Emotions

Divorce can evoke various emotions in children, including sadness, anger, fear and confusion. They may feel a sense of loss, worry about the future or struggle with changes in the family dynamics.  To help children navigate through these challenges, emotional support and open communication are crucial.


Behavioural Issues

These issues may manifest as aggression, withdrawal or acting-out. Young children may start throwing tantrums.  They may also experience bedwetting due to stress and emotional upheaval situations like divorce. Older children may avoid their parents and in some cases exhibit stubbornness or destructive behaviour.


Academic issues

The change in family dynamics can contribute to academic issues such as poor concentration, no motivation and have overall implications on their academic performances. Academic issues can manifest in various ways such as decline in grades, repeated complaint from teachers about late or incomplete assignments and minimal participation in class. It is crucial to address such concerns to ensure academic success.


Feelings of Loneliness

Children of divorced parent may experience feelings of loneliness. The absence of a parent can contribute to a sense of isolation. They struggle to connect with those around them and feel unhappy around friends and family. It is important for parents to maintain regular communication, foster emotional connections and provide a sense of stability and belonging for their children.


How Does Divorce Affect a Child’s Self-Esteem?

It’s likely that children’s self-esteem and confidence will become vulnerable to the effect of divorce and separation. According to studies they find it more difficult to cope and adjust to life’s ups and downs. Research indicate that higher levels of parenteral conflict can lead to greater trauma experienced by children, which in turn results in lower levels of self-esteem and poor coping mechanisms. Previous studies have also shown that changing schools and relocating to a new home can contribute to difficulty adapting and coping. They may long for a sense of belonging, when comparing themselves to other kids whose parents are still together.


How Can I Boost My Child’s Self-Esteem After Divorce?

Children are dynamic beings who undergo constant change as they grow. Their self-esteem is a crucial factor that shapes their personality and impact their interactions with others.  Here are some ways you can boost your child’s self-esteem to help it flourish and grow:


Encourage Your Child to Spend Time With Friends

It’s important for children that show signs of low self-esteem to spend time around their friends. They need to participate in fun activities and boost their moods. Interpersonal skills are crucial for kids, and joining a sports team is a good way to learn how to communicate through team work.


Don’t Overly Praise Your Child

As children grow and develop their self-esteem it is equally important for them to build and improve their skills in order to succeed in life. It is crucial to be mindful of the moments when you offer praise to your child. Giving praise at the wrong times may mislead your child into thinking that they are doing well, even when it is not the case. It’s essential to provide constructive criticism, this will ensure that your child will develop their skills over time. As they receive praise for their hard work and achievements, their confidence will grow.


Remind Your Kids That It Wasn’t Their Fault

Reassuring children that the divorce was not their fault is crucial for their emotional well-being. Children could harbour feelings of anxiety throughout their lives if they believe that the divorce was their fault. Open communication is crucial, and allowing children to express their feelings is of high importance during a divorce. Listening and addressing children’s questions can help them feel valued, and reassures them that the divorce is not their fault. A safe space for emotional expression is vital for their well-being.


What Ages Are Children Most Traumatised By Divorce?

Divorce impacts everyone. Whether your 34 years old, or only 3 years old, it is hard on everyone. According to psychologist’s children between the ages 3-15 years struggle the most to deal with the divorce of their parents. Young children struggle to understand why they have to go between two homes. They also fear their parents not loving them anymore. Grade school children may think that their parent divorce is their fault. Assuming that they did something wrong, or misbehaved. Teenagers may find it difficult to regulate their emotions and become angry at times. They often blame one parent for the divorce and may resent one or both parents for the upheaval in the family.


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