Divorce or a separation is a tough time for everyone involved, but it can be especially tough on the children. Divorce is a big stressor but for children, it can be especially difficult. If one parent leaves the home, it can cause separation anxiety and other worries. Your child may start to regress in behaviors, revert to baby talk, act out, or show signs of depression. Ensuring that your child is looked after properly during this time is important. If your child is showing signs of anxiety it is important to help them as soon as possible. Speaking to a professional about how to help children cope with anxiety of divorce or separation early on can make things a little easier for everyone.
How to Help Children Cope with Anxiety of Divorce or Separation
Be sure you have the right diagnosis – Since anxiety can manifest in different ways, you need to seek help from a professional and be sure you have the right diagnosis, so you know how to treat it properly. Sudden changes in character, nail-biting, even changes in eating or sleeping habits and so much more, it’s best to check with a professional. Google is great, but a professional has studied in this field and can suggest things personalized to your child.
Be patient with your children – If their anxiety starts to cause behaviors that frustrate you, it can be easy to lose your cool. It’s very important that you remain patient. Respect your child’s feelings and allow them to share with you. This is an important time for them to feel safe and know they can trust you.
Keep the routine the same – While it’s easier said than done, it’s important that you keep the routine at home as close to the same as possible. They will need to feel a sense of security as much as possible. This can be difficult especially if one parent moves out, but children crave routines. If possible, it’s best to discuss with the other parent the importance of finding balance in maintaining the same routine, even if in different homes.
Talk openly and honestly – Depending on the age, and ability to understand and process, of the child, you should talk openly and honestly with your children and listen to what they have to say. Never speak badly about the other parent to your children, no matter what has happened. Not only will it make things worse, but your child loves the other parent and they would be hurt to hear these things.
I hope that with these tips on how to help children cope with anxiety of divorce or separation, you can do your best to support your children. It won’t always be easy, and it will be important that you have a good support system to help you through it as well. Children feed off of our energy, and their feelings can easily become confused when our own issues aren’t addressed.
Do you have any tips that you would like to share on how to help children cope with anxiety of divorce or separation that have helped you and your children?