March 13, 2023

Divorce and Children’s Mental Health: Helping Them Cope

As much as divorce is on the parents, the children won’t be taking it easily either. If you’re a parent going through a divorce, it’s good to prioritize your children's needs and help them cope with this life-changing event. And the good thing is, divorce, as hard as it is, doesn’t mean your children’s childhood is doomed for life. You can employ and utilize various strategies and tips for successfully raising children after divorce.

How to Prioritize Their Needs During Divorce

Going through a divorce means a significant change in a family’s life is coming, and it’s necessary for the parents to prioritize their children's needs during this time. The children are often seen as innocent victims of divorce, and this could be true for most cases.

It’s now your responsibility as a parent to protect your children from the negative effects of separation. This means putting your children's needs before your own and ensuring that they feel loved, safe, and supported throughout the divorce process.

Remember that children may experience a range of emotions during this time, including sadness, anger, and confusion, and all of this is valid. You must acknowledge their feelings, whether they’re negative or positive. Don’t be neglectful or dismissive of your children’s feelings. You can do this by providing a safe and supportive environment where your children feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and emotions.

As a parent going through a divorce, you should see to it that you provide stability and structure for your children. Children thrive on routine and predictability, so it’s good that you establish consistent routines and expectations like regular mealtimes, bedtimes, and homework schedules.

You must also establish boundaries around communication with your ex-spouse to avoid conflict and confusion for your children. Encourage your children to maintain a positive relationship with both parents. Do everything in your power to avoid putting them in the middle of any disagreements.

Lastly, be aware of any signs of emotional distress or mental health issues among your children. If you observe any changes in your children's behaviour, like withdrawal or aggression, it’s good to consult with a mental health professional for your children. A psychologist can help your children process their emotions and develop coping strategies to deal with the changes in their lives.

Understanding the Emotional Impact

Finding out that their parents are divorcing will have a profound emotional impact on children, regardless of their age. As said above, acknowledging and validating their feelings, whether they are angry, sad, confused, or scared, is of utmost importance.  

Encourage your children to express their emotions in a healthy way, such as through journaling, art, or talking to a trusted friend or family member. Put yourself in their shoes and don’t be dismissive of their feelings. If you notice any signs of depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues in your children, seek professional help immediately.

Talking to Your Children About Divorce

When it comes to talking to your children about divorce, being honest is the best way to go about it. However, you must see to it that you tailor your approach to your children's ages and emotional maturity.  

Parents must be clear and concise when explaining the situation and avoid blaming or bad-mouthing your ex-spouse. Remind your children that they are loved and make sure that they know that the divorce isn’t their fault.

Strategies for Successfully Raising Children After Divorce

After a divorce, successfully raising your children can be challenging, but it’s doable and possible. Some children from divorce turn out okay as they grow up, but it’s not without hard work. Here are some strategies to help you raise your children successfully after divorce:

  • You must encourage a positive relationship with both parents: It is essential to encourage your children to maintain a positive relationship with both parents, even after the divorce. Avoid putting your children in the middle of any disagreements or conflicts with your ex-spouse and prioritize your children's needs over your own.
  • You must keep your communication lines open: Parents should keep the lines of communication open with their children, even if you’re no longer living together. Encourage your children to express their emotions and feelings in a healthy way and try to listen and respond with empathy.
  • You must seek professional help if necessary: If you notice any signs of emotional distress or mental health issues in your children, seek professional help. A psychologist can help your children process their emotions and develop coping strategies to deal with the changes in their lives.
  • You should practice self-care: Raising children after divorce can be emotionally and physically draining, so you must make time to practice self-care. Take care of your physical and mental health, and seek support from friends, family, or a psychologist if necessary. Remember to prioritize your own needs in addition to your children's needs.

By following these strategies, you can successfully raise your children after divorce and provide them with the love, support, and stability they need to thrive. It may take time and patience, but with a commitment to your children's well-being, you can create a positive and fulfilling life as a family after divorce.

How Counselling Can Benefit Children of Divorce

Counselling can be a valuable resource for children of divorce. A psychologist can help your children process their emotions and develop coping strategies to deal with the changes in their lives. They can also provide a safe space for your children to express their feelings and work through any conflicts or challenges they may be facing.

Psychologist London Ontario

Helping Your Children Thrive in a New Environment

Divorce often means a new home, school, and community for children. This can be a difficult adjustment, but there are things you can do to help your children thrive in their new environment. Encourage them to get involved in extracurricular activities and make new friends. Explore your new community together and find activities that your children enjoy. Finally, be patient and understanding as your children adjust to their new surroundings.


Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude During and After Divorce

Maintaining a positive attitude during and after divorce can be challenging, but it is essential for your well-being and the well-being of your children. Here are some tips for maintaining a positive attitude during and after divorce:

  • You must focus on what you can control: Set your attention on the things you can control during and after divorce, such as establishing routines and boundaries for your children and finding ways to support them emotionally. By focusing on what you can control, you can create a sense of stability and predictability for yourself and your children.
  • You should seek positive relationships: Intentionally surround yourself with positive and supportive people who uplift you and encourage you. Avoid negative or toxic relationships that drain your energy and bring you down.
  • You should stay focused on the future: While divorce can be a difficult and emotional experience, it is important to stay focused on the future and the possibilities that lie ahead. Create new goals and aspirations for yourself and your family, and work towards them with a positive and determined attitude.
  • You must take things one day at a time: Remember that healing takes time, and it is important to be patient with yourself and your children as you navigate this difficult transition. Take things one day at a time and focus on the small victories and progress you make along the way.

Keeping the Love Alive: How to Continue to Show Love and Support to Your Children After Divorce

Divorce can be a traumatic experience for children, but it is important to remember that they still need love and support from both parents. Here are some ways to continue to show love and support to your children after divorce:

  • Keep communication open: Even if you are no longer living together, it is important to keep the lines of communication open with your children. Regular phone calls, texts, or video chats can help you stay connected and involved in their lives.
  • Attend important events: Make an effort to make it to your children's extracurricular activities, school events, and special occasions like birthdays or prom nights. Your presence can show your children that you will always care for them and support them, even if you are no longer living with your spouse.
  • Create new traditions: Divorce often means creating a new life for yourself and your family. Consider creating new traditions that you can share with your children, such as a special activity you do together or a yearly trip you take as a family.
  • Be present and engaged: Make sure that you’re present and engaged when you’re spending time with your children. Put away your phone or other distractions and focus on enjoying quality time with your children.
  • Stay positive: Avoid speaking negatively about your ex-spouse in front of your children and focus on the positive aspects of your relationship. While divorce can be a difficult and emotional experience, you should stay optimistic for your children's sake.  

Going through a divorce is a difficult emotional experience for both parents and children. But by putting your children's needs before your own, establishing routines and boundaries, and seeking support from mental health professionals and loved ones, your children can cope and thrive after divorce.

Archways Centre for CBT offers professional mental health help to children whose parents are going through a divorce, through teaching healthy coping strategies and providing emotional and psychological support. We’re always here to help. Reach us at (519) 472-6612.


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