Some adults don't believe that children experience stress. But many young people have a lot on their plates – from cyberbullying and identity issues to balancing relationships and academic struggles, being a kid can be challenging. And with the American divorce rate hovering somewhere around 40% – 45%, anxiety related to divorce is another one of those stressors that can take a toll on children's well-being.
Fortunately, as we have grown to understand how divorce adversely affects children, we are also aware of how we can help young people navigate the perils associated with this life-changing event.
When families are going through a divorce, one area that sometimes suffers is children's academic achievement. During this time, it is essential to depend on the bond you have with your child to facilitate an environment of trust. This means keeping lines of communication open, knowing what's going on in your child's life, and getting him or her the necessary help they may need, such as a tutor or a therapist. Remember that divorce can be hard on everyone, including your children. But there are ways that you, as a parent, can foster your child's academic success and empower their mental and physical health even during a divorce.
Children and Divorce
When parents separate, children often experience various emotions such as anger, guilt, or embarrassment. A child may believe that the divorce is their fault or may blame one parent for the situation. Understanding what your child may be going through during a divorce can inform the type of assistance that is required.
Even though you may not know the extent of your child's struggles, generally, you want to be the voice of encouragement for him or her during this difficult time. Let your child know that you believe he or she is capable as a person and a student. Prioritizing your child's welfare means that both parents need to come together to provide assurances to your child that he or she is loved, that the divorce is not their fault, and that you will all get through this.
And although it may be tough to put differences with the other parent aside, it is imperative that you find a way to remain civil around your children as intense fighting is one of the main issues that create stress for kids.
Healing During and After Divorce
Divorce can be a traumatic event for everyone involved. There is no shame in reaching out to get help for your children or yourself. When it comes to your child's emotional health, the losses created by divorce often warrant the help of a skilled therapist. Additionally, your child's teachers may be a resource for promoting added stability in your child's world.
Engage in Therapy
Counseling can be a valuable tool to get your child on the road to healing. When enlisting the services of a therapist to help your child, you want to find someone who is experienced in building trusting relationships. The therapist will help your child work through their emotions and develop skills to cope with the situation. This practice could involve learning stress-reducing techniques that could help your child better focus in other areas of life, such as academics.
Connect with Your Child's Teachers
Consider reaching out to your child's teachers. They can offer support to your child through their relationship as a caring, concerned adult. In addition to being trained in academic instruction, teachers are also equipped to deal with emotional and behavioral difficulties. And although you may consider your divorce a private matter, informing your child's teachers about the general circumstances will give them insight that may be helpful as they interact with your child in the classroom.
Ensuring your child's academic success can be a difficult task in the best of times. When divorce is a factor, it can make it even more challenging, though not impossible. Doing what is best for your child may require swallowing your pride or taking the high road, but it is well worth it when the goal is to protect your child's mental health.
If you're in the middle of a divorce, you need an attorney who is compassionate and skilled — allow me to advocate on your behalf. As an experienced lawyer, I will provide expert counsel for the needs of both you and your children. Contact my office today to speak with me about your case.