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Child Centered Divorce

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  - Parenting Children of Divorce
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Created by Rosalind Sedacca, CDC

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Depression and Divorce – Helping Your Children Cope With Both

Divorce has many effects on children. No two children will react in exactly the same way. That’s why parents need to be diligent about watching for signs and indications that your child may be having problems coping with their new reality.

Depression is one of the more common reactions we see in children of divorce. Unfortunately, many parents entirely miss or misinterpret the signs of depression. It can take many forms including behavior that is distancing, lethargic and withdrawn. This is often accompanied by a drop in school grades. But depression can also show in other ways, such as agitation, frustration and aggression.

When depression takes that form, parents are likely to think of it in terms of discipline problems and respond with punishment. It takes maturity and a broader perspective to stand back and realize that your child’s misbehavior may actually be a way of communicating how they are feeling. Their confusion, anger, resentment and powerlessness to control their life circumstances get expressed physically because they don’t know how to verbalize those complex emotions.

Understanding and compassion goes a long way toward opening that door to communication. Instead of punishment, try talking about your new family situation and acknowledging areas that can be improved. Ask for suggestions. Try to get feedback, to create a dialogue rather than lecturing.

The key for parents is in finding more time for emotional support and reassurance to help your child feel less alone or isolated – especially by the new circumstances in his or her life. If extended family – grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are not close by, this becomes even more essential.

Children need the support of emotional anchors – close family and friends – and the consequences of divorce too often isolates them from the very people who can best help them through the transition. For this reason you as a parent must continuously keep your eyes open for signs of emotional distress – and then quickly respond with love, attention, compassion and both physical and emotional support.

Studies show that the rate of serious depression is increasing in children – up from 2% a generation ago to 23% for children up to age 20. Not all of it is divorce related, of course, but it still should be a wake-up call to parents. Don’t beat yourself up with guilt. That doesn’t serve any one in the family. But do be alert so you can address issues that come up early on, before they lead to far greater problems.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a relationship seminar facilitator and author of the new ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love!. For free articles, her blog, valuable resources on child-centered divorce or to subscribe to her free ezine, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com

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Depression and Divorce – Helping Your Children Cope With Both

Divorce has many effects on children. No two children will react in exactly the same way. That’s why parents need to be diligent about watching for signs and indications that your child may be having problems coping with their new reality.

Depression is one of the more common reactions we see in children of divorce. Unfortunately, many parents entirely miss or misinterpret the signs of depression. It can take many forms including behavior that is distancing, lethargic and withdrawn. This is often accompanied by a drop in school grades.

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2 Comments

  1. Dear Mrs. Sedacca,

    I will not respond to my ex’s blog. I have in no way tried to slander him or his wife.

    I was seeking some professional advise on what the last 13 years have been.

    My heart aches for my children for more reasons. I will NOT print in this blog.

    I am NOT jealous of him remarrying. Trust me when I say this.

    I have not caused my own hardships. Believe me.

    Alot has been left out.

    I love my kids and I only want the BEST for them as far as their education, excelling in their favorite sports and their future.

    My ex works in retail. He does not have the time to sit around all day and research the internet as his wife does being that she is a legal secretary. I do not believe he wrote this blog. His wife did.

    Enough said.

    Sincerely,

    Gloria H.

  2. Thank you, Gloria, for your response on my blog. I hope there is a way for you all to create a healing, for the sake of your children. That would be a great advance for the entire extended/blended family.

    I hope this is a possibility for you and all others involved.

    Very best wishes,
    Rosalind

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