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Considering Children’s Mental Health During Divorce

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Statistics are showing that divorce rates in England and Wales are at an all time low since 1973, yet it’s still a hot topic in the media. Of course, no couple that gets married expect that they’ll get divorced, and it can be a traumatic time for the time. Apart from the turmoil this can cause for the couple, it can have serious effects for the children.

Obviously, not all divorces are as ugly as they are in the films, but they’re an extremely emotional time, nonetheless.

The age of the child is irrelevant, if your family is essentially split in half, it can have negative effects on a child’s mental health. So, in this article, we will explore how this can affect children, and how you can minimise damage.

Experiencing Change

The amount of change the child will experience will affect their life drastically. For a younger child progressing through their developmental years, having one parent moving out of the house can be confusing.

At a younger age, they are unable to understand why one of their parents no longer lives with them. There is research to suggest that an older child can come to terms with divorce easier than minors. Despite this, they are the most likely to bear the brunt of the effect of change. The breakdown of a marriage could mean them moving to a new house, moving school, or no longer seeing one of their parents. It could also mean the family is less well-off financially. For example, in the past, your child may have been able to go away on a school trip each year with their friends, whether it be skiing or a pre-summer break.

Most likely, there will be two mortgages being paid rather than one, so there isn’t as much money as there was to afford the majority of ‘wants’ in life. This will irritate and upset a child who has grown accustomed to such a lifestyle. This strain at work may even cause you to seek assistance from divorce help specialists.

Bad Behaviour & Acting Out

Something to consider is making sure you tackle the lack of understanding. A failure to understand a situation can develop into frustration, and in many cases, this can result in anger. Often, with one parent absent, the consistent level of discipline that was once there has now been removed. Rather than dishing out punishment for bad behaviour, try to understand the position in which the child finds themselves.

Try not to forget that the children are also going through something emotionally frustrating. Therefore, be patient and take into consideration the way you are acting around them.

Children take notice of their surroundings. So, if one parent is badmouthing another, they are likely to pick up on this and replicate it. Although the situation between both co-parents may be rather toxic, for the sake of the child’s emotional stability, communication is key. Monitoring behaviour around both parents, particularly if they are now living in different homes, is an effective way to quash any behavioural issues.

Benefits of a Stable Education

It’s unsurprising that a stable education will act as a positive foundation for the child’s mental health. Research has discovered that children who grow up in a two-parent, married family are more likely to do better at school. They are more likely to be less disruptive in class, and less aggressive towards other classmates. In terms of their academic performance, children whose parents’ marriage is intact are more likely to do their work without being forced.

In 2014, the BBC concluded from research that 65 per cent of children with divorced parents did worse in their GCSEs, while 44 per cent also believed their A-Level results had suffered. Resolution, who conducted the research, proposed that the disruption of moving school could be at fault for the exam results.

Although many parents try to stay together for the child’s benefit until they’re older, this can be damaging to a child. If the living arrangement is unhappy, the child will pick up on it. Be honest with yourselves and your children and do the right thing. But don’t fail to consider those caught in the crossfire.

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Sources

https://www.ourfamilywizard.co.uk/blog/behavioural-issues-children-after-divorce

https://www.verywellfamily.com/psychological-effects-of-divorce-on-kids-4140170

https://www.parents.com/parenting/relationships/should-i-stay-in-my-marriage-for-the-kids/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-30177051