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Is Divorce Really Harmful for Your Children?

With half of marriages coming to an end, there are about 1.5 million children annually who experience their parents going through a divorce. At the time of the split it feels as though their world may be falling apart, everything is coming to an end and there is no hope. The season of divorce can be a trifling one, filled with a lot of emotions, confusion and legal details. Despite the hardships, many parents realize that it is best for themselves and their family if the end the marriage because there is no peace in the household. However, there are also parents who are so scared of hurting their children with a divorce that they choose to remain married, despite the pain and conflict.

Many parents fear that if they divorce, their children will essentially be "screwed up" for the rest of their lives. This is simply not true. While there are a small group of children who may react strongly to the separation and even years later hold onto it, the majority of children will grow to be decent adults having moved forward well after their parents' divorce. Parent, fear not; there is hope! According to various researches, the group of children with serious problems after a parents divorce is relatively small, as well as adults later on town the road.

Psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington from the University of Virginia shares in her 2002 study that while divorce may be very difficult for children in the present trial, later on they will grow to recover quickly. The majority of children will in fact face hard ships for a short period of time after their parents' divorce, and that is natural. Imagine, their parents are leaving each other, you're going to have another house to live in part of the time, you won't have dinner with both parents, etc. it would be hard and a lot to handle, especially for younger children. These children will likely experience a range of emotions such as anger, depression, confusion, anxiety, disbelief, etc. Her studies deemed that by the end of the second year after the divorce, the child will have gotten used to the changes and moved forward, accepting life the way it now is.

Another study by sociologist Paul R. Amato in 2001, shows that the children of divorce also will do well long term. His research evaluated the effects of the children of divorce long after the event took place from later childhood into adolescence, then afterwards. Here he would then analyze their academic achievements and their different problems emotionally and behaviorally, as well as other key factors such as self-concept, social relationships and delinquency in order to see how they were responding to the divorce.

There are studies that show the problems of divorce on a person may not actually manifest itself until the later years of adulthood. According to one researcher, Judith Wallerstein, a majority of adults who were children of divorce will experience some negative effects as a result; namely depression and relationship issues. Another study shows that about 25% of adults in this situation experienced these issues of psychological, emotional and social problems. As adults, however, it is safe to say that there are likely many other attributes contributing to the problems that these adults are facing. Perhaps it was bad parenting they experienced in general or even their current circumstances, not just because of the divorce their parents went through 20 plus years ago.

As parents, if you are considering a divorce—do whatever you can to help your kids. How you prepare them for the divorce will make a huge impact in their ability to cope and move on and perhaps even in their later adult years. As parents it is entirely in your hands to provide a safe and loving environment in the wake of a divorce. As a parent, be sure to give them the emotional support they need not only during the time of the divorce but throughout life as they are your children. Make sure that you are also firm in your discipline and instruction of the children, not letting little things slip through. Proper (loving) discipline can help teach and shape them to be responsible young adults in the future. You play a large role, so do whatever you can for them during the divorce and afterwards!

If you are considering a divorce, contact Hopper, Hopper & Mulligan, PLLC today for the Raleigh divorce lawyer you deserve to help you through the process.

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