Most people would agree that going through a divorce is a difficult time for all involved, regardless of the particulars of the situation. However, divorces are often hardest on the children who don’t understand what is happening or why. They can be very confused and anxious about what is going on. A recent study sought to explore this further.

The study found that when compared to children of the same age living with both parents, the adolescents in the study were more likely to experience depressive symptoms and anxiety. Common issues that the children worried about were family finances, how to deal with the new family dynamic and their relationships with their parents.

The study found that most of the symptoms occurred between four to six months after the separation, showing that children need a significant amount of time to process the divorce, much like their adult counterparts. The study also found that children who worried about their relationship with their father could exhibit these symptoms up to nine months after the divorce. One reason posited for this was that the mother often had to take on more of a disciplinary role with the children, causing a fundamental shift in the relationship.

Understanding what is likely to happen emotionally and psychologically in children after their parents’ divorce is an important part of being prepared to talk with and support them through the process. It’s also important to take the time to find out as much as possible about your custody and parenting time options so you can do everything in your power to make this transition easier.

Source: Parent Herald, “How Mental Health Of Teens Suffers After Dad Leaves: Details Here [VIDEO],” Vlad Tverdohleb, Jan. 08, 2016