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Do Not Underestimate the Impact of Divorce on Your Children

 Posted on August 07, 2017 in Child Custody / Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Do Not Underestimate the Impact of Divorce on Your ChildrenDivorced spouses may feel relieved to have ended their contentious marriage. The hostility between them made their lives miserable. If the former spouses are parents, they may believe that the divorce will benefit the children, as well. After all, children feel stressed and unhappy when living with parent who are often fighting. However, children are unlikely to view the divorce in that way. The positives that come from not witnessing their parents' hostile relationship are outweighed by feelings of loss and betrayal. Parents must understand how their divorce will affect their children.

Through a Child’s Eyes

For children, there is no fresh start or optimism after their parents separate. The divorce has abolished the two-parent home that they knew and replaced it with an unfamiliar living arrangement. Normally, parents put their children's needs first. A divorce tells the children that their parents' needs are more important than keeping the family together. Though they may not say it, children can blame their parents for not saving their marriage. If not their parents, they may blame themselves. Adults understand that divorce is a natural and often necessary outcome when spouses have irreconcilable differences. For children, divorce is unnatural because it destroys their family.

Acting Out

It is common for children of divorce to feel anger, fear, stress, depression, loneliness or other negative emotions. Those feelings can manifest themselves in a child’s behavior. Studies on children of divorce have found that they sometimes react to divorce by:

  • Acting violently or recklessly;
  • Slacking off on their academics;
  • Using drugs or alcohol;
  • Becoming sexually active; or
  • Engaging in criminal activities.

Even if children do not misbehave, the psychological damage from the divorce can follow them into adulthood and affect their future relationships.

Parenting After Divorce

The studies on children of divorce are alarming, but parents must remember that they do not represent all cases. Many children of divorce have happy and successful childhoods. The key is often how parents raise their children after divorce. Divorced parents must:

  • Be attentive towards their children when they are together;
  • Remain active in their lives;
  • Acknowledge their feelings about the divorce; and
  • Give them love and comfort.

Parenting Plan

Your children will likely be upset about the changes that come with your divorce. Your job as a parent is to create a supportive environment for them. A DuPage County family law attorney at Calabrese Associates, PC, can help you craft a parenting plan that will benefit your children. To schedule an appointment, call 630-393-3111.


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