Divorce is one of the most traumatic events you can experience, but when your dissolving union involves children created by the marriage, it can affect them almost more profoundly than you or your spouse. Science Direct notes that children with divorced parents have a greater chance of developing a mental illness when compared to those raised inside intact marriages.
If you have concerns about how a divorce might affect your kids, you can take a few actions that may help safeguard their mental well-being.
1. Communicate openly
Children old enough to understand what divorce means may begin to harbor feelings of anxiety and increased fear of the unknown unless you and your ex-spouse work to keep communication open. Talk with your children about future living arrangements and co-parenting so they can process this information in a safe environment.
2. Avoid detachment
Children of divorce may develop detachment behaviors if they feel abandoned by the parent who moves out of the family home. You can prevent this by reassuring your children that they still have two parents, even if they live apart, and that the split will not affect the love you have for them. Consistent reassurance can help your kids navigate the divorce without detaching themselves from you or your ex-spouse.
3. Try to maintain routines
Children tend to feel more secure when they have a daily routine, and while a divorce can interrupt these schedules, trying to maintain as many as you can could support your children’s feelings of security and comfort concerning their environment. Reviewing school, extracurricular activities and transportation schedules with your children and your ex may allow you to maintain a sense of normalcy.
You can further your children’s mental well-being by not involving them in financial discussions or arguments with your ex.