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When you exchange wedding vows or tie the knot, you don’t think of parting ways with your spouse. But divorce or separation can’t be predicted and are beyond your control. As a mother, the separation is even more painful as you don’t want your child to face any negativity in life. You don’t want to bring up your child in a family where there is no love. Children from a broken family might end up having psychological problems if they don’t learn to cope well. You can help your child from a broken family so that your little one grows up healthy.
HealthShots reached out to Dr Preeti Singh, Senior Consultant Clinical Psychology, Paras hospitals, Gurugram, to know how broken families affect a child’s mental health.
Psychological impact of a broken family on children
“Broken families need help, but what happens is that in most cases, they are not able to get help or don’t look for it. This leads to a difficult situation and has a strong negative impact on the children in that environment, says Dr Singh.
Here’s how broken families affect children:
• Their psychological well-being and personality get affected
• They have a fear of abandonment
• They find it hard to trust others
• Communication is distorted and ineffective which leads to difficulty in sustaining relationships
• They have self-harm tendencies
• Risk of being diagnosed with depression, bipolar mood disorders, anxiety and personality disorders and eating disorders is very high.
Signs of children being negatively affected by their parents fighting
When there is no love between parents and children see their mom and dad fighting, the kids start getting negatively affected by it.
Some of the signs are:
• Increased anger and violent behaviour
• Frequent substance use like cannabis and alcohol
• Poor academic performance
• Disrupted sleeping patterns
• Poor eating patterns
• Poor self-care.
Ways to help children from a broken family
Leaving children from a broken family to deal on their own is not the solution. Step up and help your child in different ways.
1. Be supportive
As a mother, you should show your child that you are being supportive and non-judgemental even if things between you and your kid’s dad aren’t alright.
2. Teach them self-care
Caring for yourself is very important, so teach your little one the significance of self-care. Telling your child to practice self-compassion (activities for self-compassion) would also help.
3. Don’t let them take the responsibility to resolve adult conflicts
Let the fight or argument stay between you and your former partner. It is not your child’s responsibility to resolve your fights. Keep the kid away from your conflicts.
4. Help your child to find a safe space
Your child needs a space where he or she can express and reflect without any fear or judgments. Identify that space for your child. If possible, let your child see a mental health expert like a psychologist to get a safe consistent space where the kid can talk, express and build resilience to cope with such situations at home and outside, says Dr Singh.
5. Discuss self-harm behaviour
Talk about self-harm behaviour (watch out for signs of suicidal behaviour), how bad it is and why they shouldn’t think about it. Just show a little bit of love and see how such negative thoughts disappear!
Make sure you are not neglecting your child’s mental health amid the chaos going in your life!