Divorce, Relationship Breakdown & Children’s Mental Health

Fri 10th Feb 2023

This National Children’s Mental Health Week, (6th-12th February) we look to share resources that are helpful for all children and parents, not just those going through separation, divorce and family breakdown.

Mental Health often does not have any physical manifestations, and whilst parents understand and practice the importance of a healthy and physically balanced lifestyle for children, mental health can be overlooked or perhaps is an area that more support and professional guidance is sought.

With the rates of mental health issues in children on the rise and; more positively; being openly discussed and addressed, more and more parents are realising the value of supporting and nurturing their children’s mental health and making it an important part of their overall wellbeing.

Often, parents who are separating or divorcing note a difference in their children’s mental health as well as their own. Unsurprisingly and as is easily the case, parents, negotiating the family finances or with whom the children will live with; the impact on each member of the families mental health cannot be underestimated.

CAMHS has recently produced a helpful 11 step guide on how parents can nourish a child’s mental health which is helpful for all children and parents, not just those going through separation and family breakdowns:

  1. Actively listen before offering your advice;
  2. Practice relaxation exercises together;
  3. Share your feelings and validate theirs;
  4. Be consistent and follow through with your promise;
  5. View their behaviour as a window to their needs;
  6. Make play and exercise a requirement;
  7. Limit electronic time for everyone and set boundaries;
  8. Respond calmly when their emotions are elevated;
  9. Reach out to them and hug them frequently;
  10. Teach them how to be safe but also be to be present within; and
  11. Set and respect boundaries and model forgiveness.

The emphasis being on sharing and acknowledging feelings, correcting unhealthy and unhelpful thinking, showing empathy and building resiliency.

For more advice on the breakdown of family relations and settling disputes in relation to children, contact Sonal Parekh at SA Law on sonal.parekh@salaw.com

Contact Sonal Parekh

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