Be aware of divorce's effects on kids during the holidays

If you are a parent going through a divorce and your first holiday season as newly single, it may feel overwhelming. Perhaps Thanksgiving didn't go as planned, and you're dreading spending the winter holidays as a single parent.

For most children, their parents' divorce will be the most challenging event that they have ever experienced. Despite their own feelings of sadness and loss at the end of the marriage, divorcing parents must still protect their children's tender feelings at this difficult time.

Below are some effects that your divorce could have on your children:

  • Stress: Children often feel as if they were the cause of the divorce. They may internalize this stress, but it can surface in the form of nightmares.
  • Anxiety: Kids can exhibit nervousness and anxiety that could cause them to be unable to concentrate on schoolwork and other activities.
  • Mood swings: Your child may withdraw from social activities and even conversations. You might notice that they start spending more time by themselves.
  • Overwhelming sadness: While it is normal to be sad at the breakup of a marriage, these feelings could evolve into clinical depression that requires treatment.

Not all children will experience these emotions, and to some degree, it's perfectly normal and to be expected when they do. However, some kids may need professional assistance to healthfully process these distressing emotions.

Don't hesitate to ask your child's pediatrician or your New York City family law attorney to recommend a mental health professional who can provide your kids with short-term counseling to help them get through the rougher patches of your divorce.

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