While it is true that the effects of divorce vary from person to person and family to family, psychology experts reveal that certain circumstances, such as the environment created by a contentious divorce, can be particularly detrimental. This is especially true for children, and high levels of conflict between parents can affect their development. Having a positive co-parenting strategy in place as you move throughout the divorce process can make a big difference when it comes to your child’s mental health. However, for many couples, it is not always easy to enforce such a plan when the relationship is a contentious one.
Negative Effects of Divorce on Kids and What You Can Do to Help
It can be difficult for parents to face the reality of the negative impact of divorce on their kids, but the good news is that studies show that healthy co-parenting cannot only help your kids, but it can help you too. When parents attempt to collaborate peacefully during their divorce, this will lessen their child’s distress, and it can reduce stress for parents as well. Here are some major ways that a high-conflict divorce can impact your child and what you can do to ease the burden:
- Unhealthy Coping Strategies - Many children of contentious divorces are more prone to anxiety disorders and depression, and these issues commonly lead to an array of unhealthy coping strategies, such as substance abuse. Unhealthy coping skills can continue to be a crutch when a child reaches adulthood, especially if your child is not familiar with healthy coping mechanisms. Experts tell us that even if the other parent is not making an effort to reduce conflict in the divorce, efforts by one parent are still helpful for the child. If you are unable to show your kids healthy ways to cope with their emotions during your divorce, you can provide other means of support for them, such as meeting regularly with a therapist.
- Relationship Troubles - Children who witness high-conflict divorces often end up having strained relationships with both parents, and this can sometimes spill over into their other personal relationships, including those with friends or extended family members. Children may avoid social contact, lash out, or mimic their parents’ behavior, including displays of anger and frustration. Limiting how often you allow your child to be present when you interact with your spouse can be helpful, and encouraging your child to communicate with you about how they are feeling is also important. Finally, do not forget to show them your full attention, and be sure to listen when they want to talk.
- Delays in Emotional Development - Pent up emotions, along with the trauma that can occur when children see their parents frequently arguing, can cause long-term difficulties with emotional development. These delayed adjustments may follow your child as they get older and affect their adult relationships as well. They may experience difficulty concentrating, academic problems, and intimacy issues, and they may have trouble adjusting to new relationships or maintaining healthy boundaries. To combat these issues and help your child adjust during divorce, avoid speaking poorly about the other parent in front of them, and do not make them feel as if they must pick a side. Avoid doing anything that puts them in the middle of conflict between parents, such as asking them to send messages to their other parent.
Contact Our St. Charles Divorce Attorneys
Being civil with your spouse while going through a divorce may feel impossible at times, but it is worth making the effort for everyone involved. If you are unable to communicate peacefully despite your best efforts, a knowledgeable Bloomingdale divorce attorney can offer the professional guidance and advice you need to move forward and ensure your rights are protected throughout the process. Speak with our dedicated team at Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices by calling 630-755-6426 and scheduling a free, personal consultation today.