Is Divorce Really Bad for Children, or Have Parents Been Misled?
It seems like, at every turn, parents are told that divorce will harm their children, perhaps irreversibly so. Yet, each year, some 1.5 million children go through the separation process. Are they all doomed, their fate forever sealed by the choices their parents have made? Will their immune systems take a hit? Can they ever recover, or will they be forever scarred by this one traumatic event? Rest assured: though divorce can have a negative effect on children, most do ultimately recover – and sometimes the outcome is far better than if their parents had stayed together.
Examining the Potentially Negative Effects of Divorce
Children, like adults, can experience negative emotions during divorce. A few examples include sadness, self-blame, anger, and confusion. Stress is also common among children of divorce, and it can lead to all sorts of negative effects, such as bedwetting, clinginess, problems in school, withdrawal from family or friends, and it may even lead to more illnesses since the immune system can be weakened by stress. However, these effects are generally temporary. Most children overcome them and, in time, find a new version of “normal.”
Of course, the concern for children of divorce is not just in the “here and now.” Parents also worry about their children in the future, which is understandable since some experts claim that children of divorce may grow into adults with serious relationship problems. However, the evidence is not on the side of these experts. In fact, one study recently found that it is contention during divorce – not divorce itself – that places children at risk for relationship issues as adults. Another study, published in 2002, found that children of divorce were only about 15 percent more likely to suffer from serious emotional problems as adults than peers whose parents had remained married throughout their childhood.
Improving the Chances of a Positive Outcome
Every child deals with divorce in their own way. However, there are some tips that almost any parent can use to improve the chances of a positive divorce outcome for their child, including:
- Not arguing with your spouse when your child is in earshot;
- Not bad-mouthing your spouse in front of or around your child;
- Offering support and a listening ear;
- Encouraging a close, healthy relationship between your child and your spouse;
- Talking to your pediatrician about developmental concerns;
- Striving for an amicable divorce;
- Considering your child’s best interests when drafting your parenting plan;
- Not using your child to communicate messages between yourself and your spouse;
- Respecting your child’s time with your spouse; and
- Seeking therapy when necessary.
Contact Our DuPage County Divorce Lawyers
At Davi Law Group, LLC, we work hard to protect the best interests and future well-being of your child. Dedicated and experienced, our DuPage County divorce lawyers can examine your situation and assist you with creative parenting plan solutions that can hopefully satisfy all involved parties. Learn more about how we can assist with your case by scheduling a personalized consultation. Call us at 630-580-6373 today.