When couples divorce, it is easy to get caught up in emotions that their children’s needs are overlooked. The children can become depressed as a result. Though this is not done intentionally, it can be a consequence when parents decide to end a marriage. Not all children react this way to divorce, but parents must stay alert to the possibility. There are things that divorcing couples can do that may help prevent the onset of depression. The main goal is to put the kids’ needs first.
Divorce is a huge transition, and it changes children’s lives forever. Although they need not be a party to all the divorce agreement details, they should be included in discussions. This depends on their ages, but open communication will help them adjust. Keeping them informed while the divorce proceedings are underway will prepare them for the changes coming down the road.
It is also imperative to avoid fighting in front of them. Some couples put their children in the middle, pushing them to choose sides and badmouthing the other parent. This is a mistake and can lead to increased feelings of depression and anxiety. Separating couples can feel pressure, stress, and other negative emotions. Finding time to reassure the children and offer emotional support will help them feel less isolated. They should be asked about their feelings and be encouraged to give feedback. This is also the time to reach out to extended family members, like grandparents and cousins. Close friends can also help, especially if they have children around the same age.
Signs of Depression
The signs of depression are not obvious and are often misinterpreted. They can range widely, depending on the child’s personality, age, and situation. Feelings of anger, powerlessness, resentment, and confusion can bubble up. They can be exhibited physically by acting out, or they can be turned inwards. Some children can show these feelings by acting aggressively at home or school. Frequent temper tantrums, striking out at other people, or getting into trouble are signs of depression. Nonverbal behaviors, such as not talking, sleeping a lot, crying often, or poor school grades are also symptoms.
Dealing with Depressed Children
Parents should always be on the lookout for their children’s welfare. During and after divorce, they need to be especially vigilant for issues like depression. If not treated, it could lead to them having long term health problems or psychological instability.
Even when separating parents have the best intentions, their children may become depressed. If warning signs appear, it is time to have a child evaluated by a professional. The parents must support their children unconditionally with compassion, attention, and love. They can also address their child’s needs with consistent, loving discipline and by attending co-parenting education programs.
Children of divorce need to always feel safe, since many can experience feelings of abandonment. They, too, worry about their futures. Open discussions with both parents and therapy, if warranted, can teach them coping skills and empower them to move forward in the next stage of their lives.
Baltimore County Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC are Committed to Helping Clients Through Divorce
Divorce is not an easy process, but your children should not have to suffer. Contact an experienced, dependable Baltimore County divorce lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC for expert legal guidance in divorce matters. Call us today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online for a free consultation today. With offices in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas, including Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks, Parkton, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.