Divorce effects children in different ways. Some children may easily adjust to their new family situation, whereas others may have difficulty coping. This may lead to mental health problems. A clinical social worker reports that one in five children between the ages of eight and 15 have a mental health diagnosis. Depression is one of the most common diagnoses; children of divorced parents are seven times more likely to suffer from this mood disorder.
Parents often have difficulty recognizing the signs of depression in their children and may mistake their child’s bad behavior as a disciplinary issue requiring punishment. However, children suffering from depression may be acting out because they lack the ability to process and express their complex emotions in a constructive manner. Data shows that 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems do not receive appropriate interventions at an early age. It is important for parents to be aware of the warning signs of depression so that they may address their children’s issues expediently and appropriately.
Warning Signs of Depression
Increased sadness or withdrawal
Repeated thoughts of death or attempts of suicide
Sudden and overwhelming irrational fear
Getting in fights or other displays of aggression
Inability to engage in normal daily activities
Severe mood swings
Drug or alcohol abuse
Drop in school grades
Anorexia or bulimia
Drastic changes in behavior or personality
How to Address Your Child’s Depression
Children need emotional support through all of life’s traumatic experiences, including the divorce or separation of their parents. Parents should be understanding and compassionate, lending the child reassurance that they are loved and supported. It is important to create an environment in which the child feels that they may communicate openly. This can be accomplished by engaging in dialogue with the child instead of lecturing. Children of divorce may feel alone and would benefit from having an emotional support network of close family and friends.
It is important to note that suicide, often the result of depression, is the second leading cause of fatality in people ages 10 to 34. Approximately 75 percent of children and adolescents in chemical dependency hospitals are from single-parent families. Adolescents will usually talk about their depression with peers rather than adults, therefore parents must be diligent about recognizing the signs of emotional distress in their child and be quick to respond with compassion, understanding, and support.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Families in All Aspects of DivorceIf you are going through a divorce, it can be a very stressful time for everyone involved, including your children. Choosing the right lawyer can help to lessen this stress and ensure that you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. The Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC provide skilled, knowledgeable representation for all aspects of divorce, including mediation, drafting parenting plans, and representation in court. We proudly represent clients throughout Maryland, including Towson, Baltimore, Hunt Valley, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster, Essex, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County. Contact us online or call us at 443-589-0150 for a free, confidential consultation.