Pediatrician, Family Doctor Can Help Children Of Divorce Cope, Says American Academy Of Pediatrics

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald December 02, 04:00 am
The children of divorce may manifest symptoms that could affect their health, but it can be kept in check with the help of pediatricians.
(Photo : Kevin Winter/Getty Images )

A messy divorce can be detrimental to a person's health, especially for the children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released new guidelines based on a report on the effects of a relationship fallout in kids. It urges parents to consider seeking their family doctor when it comes to helping children cope with divorce.

The report, which was published in the Pediatrics journal, highlights how children can develop behavioral problems like depression and anxiety because of the divorce. The impact of a couple's relationship breaking down could last for years on the children.

If parents, however, consult the pediatrician early on, detecting potential problems can also happen early and thus could be prevented. "The pediatrician can help parents understand their children's reactions to divorce or separation," the AAP notes, according to Medpage Today.

Pediatricians can be a neutral support system for a family going through a divorce. They can also recommend specialists for children of divorce who could develop serious mental problems. In legal proceedings, pediatricians could also provide valuable testimony, especially if there have been child neglect or abuse.

Pediatricians are tasked to keep watch over the welfare of children of divorce as some symptoms of health problems could change over time. "They need to let the kids know that we're going to keep an eye on it, and keep an open door over time," the co-author of the report Dr. Carol Weitzman said, according to AAP News & Journals.

The AAP also reminds divorced parents to always consider the child first before they act or make decisions. They have to be open to answering the child's questions.

They also have to constantly reassure the child that the divorce is not their fault. "It is important for the kids to know that even though the parents can't love each other, each parent can love the child," lead study author Dr. George J. Cohen said.

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