Most couples going through a divorce in California notice that it causes stress for their children. The trauma of a divorce can have lasting impacts on children’s mental health.
Parents who identify signs and symptoms of divorce-related mental health issues in their children and provide positive coping methods may help their children adjust.
Signs a divorce is affecting children’s mental health
Healthline states that teenagers may act out in response to their families breaking apart. Some of the common problems seen in teenagers whose parents have divorced include becoming sexually active before the age of 16, having more frequent sexual partners and abusing tobacco, marijuana, alcohol and other drugs.
Children from all age groups may show a decrease in academic performance during and after divorce. Younger children may start to show impulsive behavior, delinquency and conduct disorders.
Underlying mental health issues
These behavioral issues may be signs of underlying mental health problems such as increased anxiety and depression, which are both more common in children from divorced families. Older children and teenagers are more likely than younger children to experience anger, which they may direct towards one parent. Younger children may have fears that they somehow caused the divorce.
Ways to help children adjust
With care and attention, most children will be able to regain a sense of normalcy after a divorce. Resources to Recovery advises parents to attend parental education programs where they can learn how to empower their children while making them feel safe. If possible, parents should communicate about their child’s needs. Sometimes, seeking professional help may be the best option.