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Helping children reduce stress during divorce and COVID-19

Nov 19, 2020 | Divorce

In facing a global pandemic, many Texas families are dealing with more stress than they could imagine. That stress only increases for parents going through a divorce – and even more so for their children.

Children might not even be aware they are experiencing such stress. So, what can parents do to help their children navigate these stressful times?

1. Take care of their mental health

There is no doubt that divorce involves a wide range of emotions. Children often feel anxiety over the future and grief over the past when they learn of their parents’ divorce. Therefore, parents should watch out for symptoms of anxiety in their children, such as:

  • Trouble sleeping;
  • Excessive worrying;
  • No appetite or stomach aches; and
  • Irritability.

Parents need to address this anxiety with their children to help them work through their stress and take care of their mental health. After all, children might have difficulty explaining how they feel, so it is often up to parents to recognize these behaviors and help their children work through this tough time.

2. Avoid arguing in front of children

It is not easy for parents to navigate divorce in these times either. They also face significant stress, and high levels of tension can often lead to disputes – especially if parents are still living together in the same house as they follow social distancing guidelines.

However, arguing about issues in their divorce in front of the children often increases everyone’s anxiety. It could also have long-term effects on the child’s mental health. Therefore, parents should:

  • Strategize how they can communicate effectively and keep any conflicts private;
  • Proactively establish co-parenting rules and communication guidelines; and
  • Ensure they take care of their own mental health and rest to reduce their stress.

3. Reassure children they are loved and safe

The health concerns and changes COVID-19 brought, and a parents’ divorce can leave children in a tough spot. They suddenly feel uncertain about everything they thought they knew.

It is natural to feel stressed when faced with such change, but when parents regularly reassure children that they love them, regardless of the changes a divorce brings, they can help children feel more confident and secure as the family navigates divorce together.