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Divorce can be misinterpreted by children unless parents tell them what is happening, how they are involved and not involved, and what will happen to them.
Children often believe they have caused the conflict between their parents.
As teenagers and adults, children of divorce can have trouble with their own relationships and experience problems with self-esteem.
Children will do best if they know that their mother and father will still be their parents and remain involved with them even though the marriage is ending and the parents won't live together.
If a child shows signs of distress, the family doctor or pediatrician can refer the parents to a child and adolescent psychiatrist for evaluation and treatment. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) represents over 8,700 child and adolescent psychiatrists who are physicians with at least five years of additional training beyond medical school in general (adult) and child and adolescent psychiatry.
In addition, the child and adolescent psychiatrist can meet with the parents to help them learn how to make the strain of the divorce easier on the entire family.
In rare situations, a child may reject contact with one parent.
Parents who are getting a divorce are frequently worried about the effect the divorce will have on their children.
Many children assume the responsibility for bringing their parents back together, causing them additional stress.
Vulnerability to both physical and mental illnesses can originate in the traumatic loss of one or both parents through divorce.
During this difficult period, parents may be preoccupied with their own problems, but continue to be the most important people in their children's lives.
While parents may be devastated or relieved by the divorce, children are invariably frightened and confused by the threat to their security.