Tips to Minimize the Negative Effects of Divorce on Children

by | Apr 30, 2019 | Divorce | 0 comments

Tips to Minimize the Negative Effects of Divorce on Children

A couple’s divorce can have a monumental impact on all individuals surrounding them. However, divorce has the capability to have the greatest affect on children. Although divorce has normalized in today’s society, where it’s estimated around 48% of U.S. children live in a divorced home, it can still be an extremely stressful and confusing time in a child’s life.

The age and phase in a child’s development can play a major role in the emotional impact the divorce has. Young children, typically under the age of 5, often battle to comprehend why a divorce is happening and fear their parent’s affection towards them will cease to exist. Children in grade school typically fear that the divorce was their fault and experience guilt. Teenagers on the other hand, often react in anger and blame one parent for the resulting divorce.

However, more importantly than age, research has shown that conflict and tension amongst parents are the most prominent aspect of a child’s ability to be able to cope with a separation. In most cases, the more the parents can diminish tension between one another, the more likely the children can handle the adjustment.

 

Inform them

Many children, especially younger children, do not understand what divorce is, why it is happening, and how it will affect their future. That’s why providing accurate information to a child regarding the divorce process is huge. Giving them the necessary comfort and knowledge to understand their parent’s divorce is essential. It may require meeting with your children one-on-one to break down different terms and the overall process. It is likely your children will not fully comprehend the information you relay to them. So, being patient, understanding, and informative is key.

 

Keep it cordial

Cordiality plays a huge role on the overall effect divorce has on children. A child may feel the need to pick sides or one of the parents will want them to choose a side. Having the child take sides can take a toll on their mental and emotional capacity. No child wants to or should have to pick sides between two people they love. It’s already enough pressure to see your parents go through this type of circumstance, be cautious not to add more pressure.

Children often want to spend time with both parents, no matter the outcome of the divorce. So, regardless of how a parent feels about their spouse, it’s wise to speak positively about them in the presence of children. Children can internalize the words they hear and these words can alter their future view of their mother or father. 

Not so fast

Starting a relationship with a new partner can be one result of a divorce, which is 100% understandable. However, be sure to take it slow, especially when it comes to introducing a new partner to your children. Even though you might be emotionally finished with the divorce, your child may still be healing. Once a new romantic partner is now a part of the bond, it is crucial to have established boundaries and standards going forward. A children’s wants and needs should still be at the forefront, no matter who is being introduced into the picture. 

 

Take care

Mental, physical, and emotional health are all affected throughout the divorce process. Counseling might be a routine a child needs to participate in after a separation. This shouldn’t be seen as a scary or super serious step for the child. They should fully understand that their counselor is just there to talk and help the child.

Parents should not disregard their own needs either. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help if needed. Children feed off their parents strength and need an emotionally stable parent during this time. You want to be in full health in order to make sure your child continues to do okay. 

Overall, divorce doesn’t have to be a negative experience for children. So, try not to make it one.