When a marriage is failing there is a great deal of concern the parents will have that getting a divorce will cause emotional and even physical harm to the children. Parents often debate the merits of trying to tough out a bad marriage for the sake of keeping the kids happy. The truth is that there is evidence on both sides that shows that children of divorce can suffer some problems as a result of dealing with the divorce while other studies show that the stress children feel during a divorce can dissipate after the divorce is completed and that there is little that prevents them from having a healthy and normal life.
One of the biggest keys that all studies have found is that parental fighting before, during and after the divorce is a significant cause of stress and anxiety for the children involved. Parents need to avoid exposing their children to the divorce process as much as possible and be honest and open with their children about everything that is happening. Being fully engaged in their children’s lives as they go through the divorce is the best way to keep the children from becoming upset or stressed out about the process. When the divorce is completed, the children end up staying with one parent most of the time, and it’s crucial that the parent is capable of caring for and supporting the children.
If you are a single parent after a divorce another good way to deal with the effects of divorce on children is to make sure your children have a large and secure peer group around them. Doing all you can to be inviting to friends of your children and the teachers at their school is an excellent way to show them that they have lots of support and people around them that care for them and love them. Being able to make sure your kids understand that they were not the cause of your divorce and they are good people is essential to allow them to rebuild any self-confidence that could have been lost while going through the divorce process.
One troubling problem that children of divorce face is that they have been shown to be less likely to have intimate relationships as young adults and have trouble making emotional connections to people in these years. It’s a good idea to suggest counseling to help deal with these issues. Having a trained mental health professional talk to your children about their feelings and the problems they are dealing with can help them get to understand their potential fears of abandonment and why they have made themselves so guarded and hard to get close to.
While divorce is a trying time for all involved the impact on children can be dealt with and in some cases, like abusive relationships, a divorce can be seen as a relief for the children. Know that divorce is hard on everyone but by engaging directly with the problem you can find solutions.