The Effect of Divorce on Children

During divorce the lives of children are turned upside-down. Their relationships with parents are permanently changed. Understanding the effect of divorce on your children may help them, and you, in the future. 

Children of all ages are at risk from the upheaval caused by divorce. Although parents might understand they will get through divorce intact, children do not. Children take their cues from adults. Stress and hostility telegraphed by parents are picked up by children as they search for structure following the sudden loss of their world as they knew it. 

Immediate and long-term results of divorce on children include: 

  • Anger involving either parent, oftentimes the parent who left
  • Decline in grades and less involvement in previously enjoyed activities
  • Short- and long-term difficulty coping with loss or risk
  • Increase in anxiety and stress in late teens and early adulthood
  • Difficulty forming and maintaining dating relationships
  • Tendency to avoid marriage to avoid divorcing as an adult
  • Increased likelihood of divorce 

The conflict level between parents is a leading predictor of the emotional future faced by a child. Open conflict over months or years between parents — married or divorced — exposes children to the worst of what adults have to offer. 

According to noted researcher Judith Wallerstein, one-third of children of divorce thrive within five to 10 years. Another third show some coping problems, and the remaining third experience serious emotional difficulties after the divorce and beyond. These are not good odds. 

Continuing to meet the needs of children while struggling through a divorce is not easy for any parent. With the high divorce rate, you are not alone. When considering divorce, think of your children and retain experienced legal counsel in New York to help you, and your children, weather the storm.

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