Those going through a divorce in Illinois are likely to deal with some significant mental and emotional strains. During such a difficult time, it is easy to lose sight of how it may be affecting the children.
Children can be traumatized for life after a divorce, and it important for parents to check in with them and get them the help they need. Part of this involves understanding the impacts of divorce on children’s mental health.
How divorce affects children’s mental health
Children of different age groups tend to show different signs that they are struggling with a divorce. VeryWell Family states that teenagers may show increased risk-taking behaviors, including becoming sexually active before the age of 16 and experimenting with drugs, tobacco and alcohol.
Children of all age groups may have lower academic performance. Younger children may suddenly become hyperactive or develop conduct disorders such as impulsive behavior and delinquency.
When children improve their behavior within a few months, they may be diagnosed with adjustment disorder. Even if a child’s behavior has improved over time, he or she may still be dealing with the trauma and stress internally. It is paramount that divorcing or divorced parents do what they can to help their children cope with the situation.
Helping the kids in a divorce
Resources to Recover describes some strategies to help the kids adjust. Parents can take steps to help their kids feel safe and secure, and there are parental education programs to help in this. There is no shame in seeking professional assistance, and a qualified counselor may be able to help children who are struggling.
It is important not to put the child in the middle. Despite their qualms with the other spouse, parents should still be able to put these differences aside to maintain a healthy relationship with their child.