How Divorce Affects Family Life
Concerns about How Divorce Affects Children and Family Life
Most parents have major concerns about divorce and the effect it may have on their children and family life. Divorce is a life-changing event and obtaining information can help you prepare and make decisions that safeguard you and your children’s well-being. For help, contact our divorce attorney in Buffalo.
Since divorce hit an all-time high in the 1980’s, researchers have taken time to study the effects of divorce on children. Results of studies reported by the University of New Hampshire (UNH) provide relevant facts and advice for parents to consider when working out custody and helping their children cope with divorce.
More than any other factor, minimizing conflict between parents reduces the adverse effect that divorce has on children. The more cooperative and loving the parents can be the better.
Children of different ages
UNH reported the following effects of divorce on children of different ages:
* Infants. Changes in a parent's energy level and mood made infants lose their appetites, have upset stomachs, and spit up more.
* Preschool children. Children from three to five years old often thought they caused their parents' divorce. Misconceptions like “Daddy left because they disobeyed a family rule” were common. Emotional reactions ranged from depression, fear, anger, or baby-like behavior to wetting the bed.
* School-aged children. Some psychologists indicated that school-aged children had more difficulty with divorce than younger or older children. Their emotional responses were more heightened and they experienced divided loyalty between parents, often hoping that parents would reconcile.
* Adolescents. Adolescents also experienced negative emotions and many responded by trying to assume more control and take responsibility for family situations themselves. The divorces also made them doubt their own ability to marry or stay in a marriage. Some felt pressured to choose one parent over the other.
What you can do
Studies show that parent-child relationships work out better for children who spend significant time with the parent of their same gender. Keeping children in the same environment—the same house, school, and church—and involved in the same daily activities help to stabilize them.
Minimizing your own stress and staying in good communication with your children helps them adjust. You can reassure them that they are not the reason for your divorce and address their concerns.
Contact an experienced Buffalo divorce lawyer for legal help with divorce.