How to Help a Child of Divorce Through Separation Anxiety

The effect of divorce on children is not straightforward. There are plenty of studies that illustrate the negative effect divorce can have on a child, but some psychologists point to the benefits divorce can have on a child who has suffered through nasty fights between parents in a tense household. Regardless, according to Psychology Today, “a number of child psychiatric disorders can be triggered by divorce.” One of the most common of these is Separation Anxiety Disorder, which, according to Psychology Today, “is a clinical term that describes an extreme state of distress that’s experienced when a person is separated form someone they’re close to; like a mother or father.”  

If you and your spouse have decided to split, it’s likely for good reason and was not one you came to lightly. Working together to do what’s best for the kids is the single most simple way to preserve your family structure, despite whether you’re living in the same house or not. Separation Anxiety Disorder brought on by divorce is not the same as a moment of panic experienced by most young children in the absence of one parent or both—“real Separation Anxiety Disorder,” according to Psychology Today, “is an extreme state. The child is terrified of being left alone.” Some kids believe they’re about to be robbed, or that their parents will die. Warning signs include an unwillingness to sleep alone, hypochondria, or a refusal to go to school.

There are ten pointers, according to Psychology Today that can be considered if you’re worried your child is experiencing Separation Anxiety Disorder. They include (but are not limited to):

  • keeping a routine at home
  • respecting your child’s feelings
  • seek outside (professional) help
  • keep calm when you say goodbye to your child
  • eliminate scary TV shows or movies

Getting divorced isn’t something that should be avoided just because you and your spouse have children. It does, of course, make it more complicated. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney today.

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