Research tells you that the impact divorce will have on children is greatly determined by the stability of parents during and after a divorce.
There can be nothing more traumatic for children than finding out their parents are separating. With separation and divorce increasingly more common, millions of children across the world are at risk of facing its negative short-term and long-term consequences.
However, research shows that the outcomes of separation or divorce between parents are not the same for all children. This mainly depends upon three factors –
First, the duration and seriousness of hostilities between parents;
Second, the quality of parenting provided to the children before separation or divorce;
And finally, the strength of the parent-child relationship.
What does research say about the impact of divorce on children?
Happily married parents provide the best environment for children because they receive the love and guidance of both parents in different aspects of their lives. It goes without saying that an intact family is better for children than divorced parents.
But, research done in the past 40 years, points towards something else.
According to research, almost 80 percent of children of divorce don’t suffer from lasting negative effects. They do well mentally, socially and in their school performance.
Parents who have learned effective parenting skills and use them during divorce are able to manage their conflicts and nurture a loving relationship with their children. This has a powerful and positive impact on children that helps them in coping up with the tumultuous changes that happen in the event of their parents’ separation or divorce.
For divorced parents, the silver lining to their dark cloud is the fact that they can, singlehandedly, raise a happy, healthy child, despite the strong negative undercurrents set up by separation or divorce.
Factors that help children adjust to divorce.
There are a few factors that help children adjust to their parents’ separation and divorce. Let’s see what they are:
- The first and foremost in importance is the relationship of children with both parents. Equal time with their children helps tremendously when it comes to alleviating any negative impact on children during divorce.
- The emotional stability of parents is a boon that children benefit immensely from. In the case of separation or divorce, a mentally stable parent bounces back and takes on the responsibility of parenting their children before focusing on their needs. This not only stabilizes the family after a divorce but also makes sure the bonds between both parents are strengthened instead of weakened.
- Children yearn to feel loved and wanted by both their parents. They care little for creature comforts or luxuries. Continuing to feel loved and wanted by both parents helps them adjust easily to the circumstances their parents are in.
So, what does this say about children and divorce? It says a loving relationship with both parents is essential whether those parents are married or divorced. Children crave a safe and conflict-free home life and if that can be provided, separation or divorce will have little negative impact on children.
What can parents do to ease the impact of separation or divorce on children?
However bitter be the separation or divorce, the endeavor of both parents should be to protect their children from its nasty fallout. Here are some ways that can ease the impact of separation or divorce on children:
- Undeniably, the conflict and hostility between parents is traumatic for children. If the differences are irrevocable and the parents are heading for a divorce, they can cooperate with each other to minimize the conflict between them, especially in front of their children. Acting friendly and helpful will save children from such a trauma.
- Becoming a single parent after separation or divorce is a stressful experience. However, if the single parent focuses on stability by structuring new routines, it will help children cope with the absence of the other parent.
- It is important for the single parent to remain positive and bring her personal strengths to raising well-adjusted children.
Separation or divorce is a bitter experience that parents and children undergo. However, the responsibility of both parents should be to spare any kind of trauma to their children while going different ways.