Family Law Blog

Shielding Children From the Effects of Divorce

Friday, April 05, 2019

parents getting divorced arguing with upset child

The disintegration of marriage brings about significant changes in the lives of a couple's children. Divorce can have lasting psychological and emotional impacts on children—but, there are steps that parents can take to alleviate these effects.

A divorce, from a child's perspective, is the crumbling of their most basic foundational structure. Life suddenly becomes confusing and unpredictable. Children may have to cope with two homes, separate holiday celebrations, and the introduction of their parents' new love interests. Their parents' divorce will stand as a major marker in their history. Everything that happens in a child's life will be categorized as a pre-divorce or post-divorce event. 

Emotional Effects

Children coping with a parental divorce may experience a wide range of emotions, including:

• Sadness

• Anger

• Low self-esteem

• Low self-confidence

• Rejection

• Conflicting loyalty

• Sense of fault

For younger children, divorce intensifies parental dependence. To the contrary, it will expedite independence in adolescent-aged children. While young children will revert back to infantile behaviors, like tantrums and thumbsucking, older children will push away from their parents with vigor.

Reducing the Costs of Divorce

The end of a marriage is treacherous to navigate for all parties. There are, however, a number of ways to help reduce the impact on children. With adolescents, the goal is to increase their responsibility to slow their separation from the family unit. For younger kids, the priority should be to establish a routine to restore the structure. A sense of safety comes from predictability in a family. 

It goes without saying, fighting in front of children should be avoided. Emotions are high during a divorce and can be tough to restrain. However, children should not witness their parents insulting or berating one another. This behavior only confirms their fear that the family is falling apart. Emotional issues should be worked out privately with a therapist or counselor. 

Divorce comes with a price—that means financial, emotional, and time costs. There could be extended negotiations for custody of the children, finances, and property. A family lawyer can help resolve disputes amicably. Parents should avoid involving children in financial or property-related disputes.

Behaving with civility will increase a child's confidence in his or her parents' ability to uphold a functioning, loving family. Establishing a routine and providing reassurance are vital to reducing the negative implants of divorce on children.

 

Need Help?

Jamra & Jamra focus exclusively on family law, offering the highest possible degree of attention in your divorce case. For assistance in your family law matters, please contact us today.