Massachusetts Divorce and Impact on the Mental Health of Young Children

by | Nov 2, 2022 | Divorce |

A Massachusetts divorce can impact young people’s mental health in a variety of ways. For some young people, these effects may only be short-term, however, for others, they may be long-lasting. They may have a devastating impact on their educational attainment and/or their mental health.

The Emotional Impact of Divorce on Young People

At first, it is expected that your kids will experience a variety of different emotions during this difficult time. This may include distress, grief, disbelief, anxiety, and anger. Despite this, many young people and teenagers do appear to bounce back after they come to terms with the initial shock and get used to the changes.

While many young people are able to process the separation, it can be a major challenge for some kids — particularly if the divorce was traumatic or they became very involved in the process. Due to this, a handful of young adults can develop long-term mental health conditions associated with the separation.

It is important to note, that anxiety and depression rates are higher amongst kids who have experienced parental divorce.

Behavioral Issues

While this is not always the case, teenagers and young adults with divorced parents are found to be more likely to engage in impulsive and risk-taking behavior following a separation. This can include substance abuse and early sexual activity.

Teenagers, in particular, are found to have a higher number of sexual partners during their adolescence. Additionally, kids that have experienced parental divorce are more likely to undergo conflict with their peers after the separation.

Issues with Academic Performance

Sadly, teenagers that experience parental divorce are found to not perform as well academically as their peers. Additionally, kids with divorced parents are also found to have higher dropout rates in school.

It is important to note, however, that this is not the case for many teenagers who have experienced parental divorce. Many kids do seem to bounce back. Typically, those who do poorer academically tend to be the ones who experienced a pretty traumatic divorce or were heavily involved in the separation.

What Can I Do to Help Kids Going Through a Divorce?

Below, we look at some of the ways you can help support your grown-up kids through this challenging time. Simple things like establishing a healthy dialogue and providing consistency can go a long way.

Establish Healthy Communication

One of the most beneficial ways you can help your kids during your divorce and afterwards is by establishing healthy communication. It is important to set the time aside to listen to how they feel so their concerns and needs are heard.

Divorces can also be a particularly sensitive topic, so it is advisable for you both to set boundaries about what you want to talk about. This way you can both be as respectful as possible to each other without either party feeling hurt.

Take a Step into Their Shoes

One of the greatest ways you can make your son or daughter feel listened to is by taking a step back and looking at the divorce from their eyes. Showing empathy to your kids during this difficult time can go a long way, and provide them with the comfort and help they need to bounce back from the separation.

Keep Relationships Going

Throughout the divorce process, it is important to offer consistency and familiarity to your kids. You can do this by minimising change as much as possible and sticking to predictable routines.

This, in turn, will offer them a source of stability and comfort during this troubling time. It could mean they’re less likely to feel the long-term impacts of your separation.

Avoid Conflict In Front of Your Kids

Where possible, it is important to not drag your kids into the separation or make them feel stuck in the middle. This is not only unfair but can have devastating effects on their mental health.

Instead, seek an unbiased meditator or legal support if things are getting tricky with settling the divorce.

Don’t be Afraid to ask for Help

Divorces are not meant to be easy, and you’re going to feel down and overwhelmed at times. Not being ok all the time is totally normal, and it is therefore perfectly fine to ask for help if things get tough.

Reach out for support from your friends, and family, or even seek professional help from a counsellor. These people are there for you because they care and would be more than happy to help you during these troubling times.

Divorce and its Impact on Young People

While divorces are usually for the best, if you and your partner are not getting along, they can also cause a great deal of distress and anxiety for all members involved. Kids and teenagers may find it particularly hard to process, as they are still developing and maturing. It is, therefore, important to keep a close eye on your kids, to ensure they’re processing everything okay and not suffering alone or in silence.

Maintaining a familiar routine, fostering healthy communication, and seeking professional support are among the things you can do to support your kids throughout the process.

Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844=4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.


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