As a parent considering getting a divorce or who recently divorced, the effect that divorce will have on your child(ren) is surely at the top of your mind. You probably already know that divorce can cause anxiety, stress, and depression in children and teens. But a study published in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry in 2015 suggests that teen depression after divorce may dissipate with time.
What did the study find?
The researchers assessed 1,160 seventh grade students for depression and mental health, as well as alcohol and cigarette use over a five-year period.
Researchers checked in with the students every three months and found that, compared to students who were living with both parents, students not living with their fathers more often reported depressive symptoms four to six months post-separation.
At seven to nine months after separation from fathers, the separation was associated with:
- Worry and stress
- Stress about parents divorcing
- A new family
However, teens no longer associated the separation with stress about their relationship with their father (as they did at the four- to six-month check-in); rather the teens associated the separation with worry and stress about their relationship with their mother.
The researchers concluded that teens may experience depression-related symptoms following a separation from their fathers, but the depression symptoms associated with this separation wane around seven to nine months.
Fortunately, separation did not make the teens more likely to use alcohol or cigarettes.
Ways to Protect Your Teen During Divorce
We know how hard divorce can be on your teenage children. Moreover, we know that you are worried about your teen and her mental health. You can read more about how your divorce may affect your child, her schooling, and her behavior in our eBook.
When you get a divorce, continue to provide your children with plenty of love and support. Be honest about what is going on, but never badmouth their parent or put your teen in the middle. Reassure your teen that you and your ex-spouse both love your teen very much, and make a diligent effort to keep conflict behind closed doors.
If you notice depressive symptoms in your teen or are worried about their performance in school or mental health, consider professional mental health care.
A Family Law Attorney You Can Trust
Divorce lawyer Molly B. Kenny wants to help you and your family. Call me today for a consultation to ask questions about divorce and other family law matters. Contact the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny at 425-260-0550.