How Your Marital Problems Cause Anxiety in Children?
You notice that your elementary school age child starts to exhibit poor academic performance after your divorce. She complains that her stomach hurts and finds it difficult to fall asleep at night.
She is irritable most of the times and has become very clingy. She doesn’t want you to leave and often times ask you where you are going and when will you come back?
Now, you start to receive phone calls from your child’s school that she falls asleep in class.
You become concerned because you know that this is not your child typical behavior.
You asked yourself, what is going on with my child?
Are you one of those individuals resolved to stay in your marriage for your children?
Although you think about breaking free from your marital relationship and starting a new life, you choose to stay in the relationship and probably have not considered how serious marital problems can sometimes cause anxiety in children.
You realize that you are not doing your children any favors by staying in the relationship. You certainly are not happy and chances are everyone in the household is suffering because of what is going on emotionally.
Do marital problems cause anxiety in children? Yes
Children are subjected to seeing verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. They may see affection or money withheld in order to exhibit complete control over the other spouse. None of these issues are good for children to be seeing and you better believe they will leave memories of a very unhappy childhood.
It is sometimes the emotional state of children that often keep people in a marriage when they want out though. They have heard all the horror stories about children with trust and relationship issues due to their parents being divorced.
It’s not the fact that their parents divorced that caused the problems. Rather it is often due to how things were handled before, during, and after the divorce.
It is often the inappropriate actions of parents that damage children perception when a divorce takes place. The image of seeing your dad call your mom hateful names, or of your mother throwing dishes isn’t something that a child will soon forget. Dealing with issues surrounding a divorce will be difficult, but do your best to protect your children from seeing them.
Children will pick up on the tension between you and your spouse. They are going to be in the line of fire if there is still a great deal of unresolved conflict going on. It can be very unhealthy for them to see such issues taking place.
It is possible to divorce someone and still have a decent relationship with them. It is possible for you to work as a team to do what is best for the children.
How to Keep Your Children Emotionally Safe:
- If you can work out details of the divorce so that the children are well cared for it will prevent them from being frighten. Messy divorces where both parties are blaming the other and getting the children in the middle of it aren’t going to benefit anyone at all.
- Never say hurtful things about your spouse in front of your children. That person is still their parent and someone they both love and respect.
Listen To Your Child’s Point of View
- Make sure you take the time to listen to your children from their point of view about the divorce. They may have questions and you need to answer them. Let them have some control over the direction of those conversations.
- It is okay to let them see your emotions during the divorce as well. Just make sure you reassure them that everything is going to be fine. As long as they feel loved and safe they will be able to get through the divorce without ongoing problems.
Don’t Scare Your Children
- You won’t scare your children if you do end up divorced. You do need to make sure you are well aware of how they are going to be affected though.
- You want to know what to expect so you can be there to meet the needs of your children. Make sure they know they can come to either parent for anything they need.
- Someone has to be the sensible adult when it comes to your children. Although it will be challenging, you also need to consider your own actions. Make sure you are fully aware of how they will influence your children.
Research shows that children need both parents to be apart of their development. However, there are many well adjusted adults in our society that whose have parents that divorced. They will be the first to tell you that the situation was for the better for everyone involved.
It is reassuring to know that because the decision to divorce is one that doesn’t come easily. And it should be an ABSOLUTE last option after you have attended professional marital counseling, marital workshops, read every book, talk to your pastor, etc… and done everything you can to save your marriage.
Yet, if it is the right decision for your family then it is best to put the needs of your children first and understand the long term effect of how marital problems give rise to anxiety in children.
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Bio: Nadirah Maryam Muhammad, M.S., M.A., ABD (Family Psychology) (Houston, TX), PT GF since 2009, Founding Expert of both the The African-American Relationship Toolshop® and The Islamic Relationship Toolshop®. Nadirah specializes in African-American Parenting and Relationships. Nadirah is a Certified Parenting Expert in African-Americans Parenting and Islamic Relationships. She currently collaborates with a group of Parenting Experts from all over the globe that enables her to better serve families in her community. In addition, she currently serves with The Escape Family Community Center for the prevention of child abuse by delivering parenting education to the community. She has served as professor of Guided Studies and Psychology and an Academic Counselor at a local community college in Houston, Texas. Nadirah has three wonderful children; one daughter and one son that has completed college and one son in college pursuing a degree in computer science.
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