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Worried About Divorce Effecting Your Kids? Learn Which Factors Make the Biggest Difference

It’s hard to anticipate how any child will respond to a divorce. There are many factors affecting how a child handles the separation, including how the child deals with stressful situations in general. Understanding some of these factors can help parents as they seek to guide their children through this difficult process and keep negative effects to a minimum. Read on to learn about some of the biggest factors that will determine how your children are effected by your divorce.
Two Parents Fighting Over Child In Divorce Concept

Conflicts and Arguments

According to Purdue University, the level of conflict between parents has a profound impact on children, especially if the child frequently witnesses the conflict. Watching parents fight can be devastating to children of all ages, so never assume that your kids will “get used to it.” Listening to one parent criticize the other can make the entire process more stressful for the children. One of the most important things parents can do is protect the kids from their disagreements. Problems should be discussed away from the kids, and both parents should avoid complaining to the children about the divorce or former partner.

Watching the Parents

Kids are always watching their parents and taking their cues from these role models. This means that the way a child handles the divorce will depend in part on how their parents deal with the changes. Maintaining a positive attitude and finding healthy ways to cope can allow parents to weather the divorce, and that helps their children cope with the changes. It’s important for parents to maintain consistency and structure during this time to help keep things on a positive and balanced level. If parents aren’t handling the changes well, this will likely effect the structure or nature of the child’s day, which could create a poor reaction to the divorce—especially as time goes on.

Too Much Information

Knowledge is power, but ignorance can be bliss. Kids don’t always have to know all the little details about why their parents are separating, but they do need to know that they aren’t responsible and that their parents still love them. Issues such as child support, parenting disputes, financial struggles and intimate information about the marriage should never be discussed in front of the kids, even if they are old enough to understand these topics. However, you should speak openly with your children about new housing arrangements and other logistical changes that will directly impact him or her. It’s tough, but parents must find a balance between saying too much and keeping their children informed so that they still feel included and loved.

Age Matters

Children below the age of 9 or 10 deal with divorce differently from older children and adolescents. Research indicates that older kids tend to become more independent in a divorce, but younger children may become more dependent on their parents. Young children have their trust shaken and seek to reaffirm that they’ll still be taken care of. Older kids may act out with rebellion as they struggle to deal with their own anger and grief. Of course, personality and the circumstances of the divorce will play a role in how your child reacts, however, don’t force them to grow up immediately just because the family has hit a serious bump in the road.

While every divorce has different ramifications and after-effects, you can use this information to help your child overcome the shock of divorce and come through it a well-adjusted kid with a new family situation. Divorce doesn’t have to be a devastating force that traumatizes your child for life. Knowing what to expect and what steps to take can help parents get the entire family through this time in a healthier and more positive manner. The information for this article was provided from lawyers in St. John’s at Gittens & Associates who specialize in family law.

Tim Esterdahl

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