1. What problems are children of divorced parents more likely to face?
• Numerous behavioral studies have shown that children whose parents are separated or divorced are more likely to have internal and external problems. Internally difficulty of coping with divorce can lead to increased anxiety and depression, and worsening of chronic diseases the children may already have such as headaches, asthma or allergies.
• External problems are behavioral outbursts, poor performance in school and substance abuse.
• This study we are reporting on conducted in the United State of almost 300 divorced families to assess if these problems could be avoided in children if the divorcing parents were on friendly terms and co-operative in co-parenting.
2. Are depression, poor performance in school and drug abuse more likely in children of divorce if the parents are on bad terms?
• We have to remember a lot of the trauma for children starts in the time period in the home leading up to the divorce such as witness arguments in between parents.
• The period of separation and divorce is a high stress time for adults and children internalize these feelings, not understanding that the divorce has nothing to do with them.
3. What can married couples facing divorce do to help prevent behavioral problems with their children?
• As one of the experts that trains psychologists and marriage counselors throughout the country, the first thing I can recommend is both the parents and children should have the opportunity to have professional counseling to learn how to process and cope with emotions and changes in the family structure.
• Communicate with the children about life after divorce including living arrangements, parents dating, and what the children need to feel more secure.
• Manage expectations: Parents should communicate their romantic partnerships with their children in a way that’s age-appropriate for their kids
• After re-partnering, parents might feel tempted to rush the dating process, but parents should slowly integrate their new romantic partner into their kids’ life.
• It’s going to take several years for the family to feel like a ‘family’ again, so build relationships over time to allow adjustment time for the children.
Romila “Dr. Romie” Mushtaq, M.D., ABIHM, is a traditionally trained neurologist with additional board certification in integrative medicine. Dr. Romie helps individuals and audiences learn to heal from stress-based illnesses such as insomnia, anxiety, and career-burnout. Her mindful living program, Mindset Matters, is based in neuroscience, positive psychology, and mindfulness.
Dr. Romie is a highly sought after professional speaker, teaching the medicine behind mindfulness to groups and corporations. She is an expert contributor in national and local media outlets such as Fox Business, The Huffington Post, Fox 35 News-Orlando, and NPR. Dr. Romie shared her story and wisdom during her TEDx Talk “The Powerful Secret of Your Breath.” When not speaking around the country, she heals clients at the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine in Orlando, Florida