Divorce is anything but easy. Deciding to end a marriage is an enormous decision for all parties involved and it affects children very deeply.
A contentious divorce can seriously impact your children
Serious marital problems have a deep impact on children’s emotional, psychological, physiological and interpersonal development, often manifesting in various negative, disruptive behaviors such as: excessive aggression, vandalism, delinquency, depression, anxiety and/or social withdrawal. Growing up with constantly fighting parents in a chaotic household can easily cause children to develop a negative self-image and distrust of the world.
Long term effects of divorce on children depends on how parents conduct themselves during and after
If parents are combative and adversarial, their children will likely suffer lifelong negative effects. Conversely, if they are cooperative and civil, children will come through the ordeal much more positively. In his recent blog, Dr. Mason Gomberg, one of our Westchester Health Pediatrics pediatricians, offers these helpful guidelines:
- Both parents should tell their children together that they have decided to divorce. This sends the message that the decision was arrived at by mutual consent after a long process.
- Children should not be told the details of the issues between the parents, and the family meeting should be in a safe setting.
- Children need to be reassured that they are still a family but how the family is structured will change.
- Parents should emphasize that there was nothing the child(ren) did to cause the divorce. Also, there was nothing they could have done to prevent it.
- Children need to feel confident that even though parents can divorce from each other, they never divorce from their children.
- Above all, parents need to make sure their children feel loved and have a home.
- Parents have to put the needs of their children above their own.
Divorced parents should do what is best for their children and put aside their anger at each other
Belittling or ridiculing one’s ex-spouse in the presence of the children will not cause the kids to love or trust one parent more. Instead, this will cause more psychological damage. When it comes to living arrangements, custody, visitation, schooling, etc., the one rule should be: What is in the best interest of each child?
This will create a supportive, nurturing and loving environment and increase the likelihood that the children will grow up to be well adjusted, self-confident and loving adults. If not, heartache, grief, stress, anger and psychological issues are all but assured.
Think about professional counseling for your child during the divorce process
Whether this is your child’s pediatrician, a teacher, a religious person, social worker or child psychologist, a caring, experienced adult whom your child can unburden to will be of enormous value during his/her emotional weathering of this storm.
For more information, advice and tips, come in and see us
If you’re concerned about any aspect of your child’s healthcare, please call (914) 232-1919 to make an appointment with one of our Westchester Health pediatricians to come in and talk about it. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.
To read Dr. Gomberg’s blog in full, click here.