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Helping children navigate disharmony in the home

When parents are having relationship challenges it can cause increased anxiety and distress for children.

For some, the stress of the pandemic revealed cracks in their marriages. Perhaps areas of struggle before COVID 19, became even more problematic now. 

13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke with holistic child psychologist, Dr. Nicole Beurkens, about what advice she has for parents when it comes to trying to protect kids from marital strife.

"When parents are having relationship challenges it can cause increased anxiety and distress for children. There are ways parents can approach these issues to help children be more resilient during times of stress," said Dr. Beurkens.

Here is what she recommends:

  • Refrain from arguing in front of children whenever possible. If they do witness a fight or disagreement, let them see you repair it with each other.
  • Avoid speaking about your partner negatively in front of the kids.
  • Let them know you are having some disagreements or challenges right now, but love them very much and are working on it. Make sure they know it's not their fault.
  • Don't confide in your children about the problems you are having, and never ask them to keep secrets from their other parent.
  • If they ask about arguments or problems they observe, talk about it in age-appropriate ways. Do not get into specifics, but let them know you are working through some difficult things together.
  • If you aren't able to manage spending time together with the children, each parent should be intentional about spending time with the kids separately.

For more insights like these from Dr. Beurkens, visit her website.

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