Can you tell the difference between normal, developmental difficulties and depression?
The fallout from divorce takes its toll on you personally, and on your role as a parent. You need to be emotionally strong and stable. After all, you are your children's role model for resilience in the face of crisis. Should I Stay Married For The Sake Of My Kids?
It's challenging enough for you to get back on your feet. Yet, at the same time, you also need to keep an eye on your child. You want to notice any signs that your child may be suffering because of the divorce. And to do this properly, you have to know exactly what to look for.
The first step is not to confuse normal developmental problems with the problems that are a result of your divorce. Even in a happy, two-parent family, children have problems throughout their developmental years. You have to distinguish between normal problems and those that are more serious. Just like you are adjusting, your child needs to find his way to adapt to the new family reality as well.
It is a process that takes time and doesn't go without some bumps in the road. You need to give your son or daughter personal space and time to work through what happened in their own way. It takes time, patience and good open communication. 10 Ways To Help Your Kids Cope With Your Divorce
There are many times when a child after divorce is struggling — even suffering. These children need extra help. To identify a child in distress, you need to evaluate whether there have been serious changes in their behavior and personality. It is not a complete change of personality, but a more extreme version of how they were acting before the divorce. Some examples are:
The Depressed Child: Michael was a quiet 7-year-old child who preferred to play alone or with a couple of select friends, building with legos. At first, his mother didn't notice anything different or unusual about him after her divorce because she saw him continuing to build as he had done in the past. But by observing more closely, she noticed he was building in a haphazard manner.
There was no clear design; he would just randomly connect some pieces together and then pull them apart. In addition, when one of his two good friends called to invite him to come over and play, he refused to go. When this happened a couple more times, his mother became deeply concerned. She found him lying down on his bed claiming he was tired and just resting. But really, Michael was depressed.
The Perfect Little Helper Child: Susan was an active, fun-loving rambunctious ten-year-old girl. Being with her friends and having a good time were always a priority. She was a decent student in school, but often neglected homework as she had more fun things to do.
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