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The lasting effects of divorce on children; why an amicable divorce is key

When a couple divorces, so many changes occur-and these changes don't just affect the divorcing parties. A divorce always has an effect on a child involved.

Whether the divorce is amicable or hostile, a child in the middle will always suffer. He or she often experiences a host of emotions, including blame, anger, and sadness during the process because the child knows that life will never be the same. An increase in drug use or criminal activity, and a decrease in school performance are also common activities a child of parents going through a divorce may engage in.

To mitigate the negative effects of a divorce on a child, it's important for divorcing parents to maintain as much of a cordial environment as possible.

The following are a few examples:

Identify your child's reactions

Divorcing parties are involved in their own emotions and stress that they often neglect to pay attention to the stress a divorce poses on their child. It's important, however, for parents to remain attentive to their child's behavior and take action if necessary. For instance, parents of an infant or toddler may witness extra tantrums or tears. Parents of a teenager, alternately, may see signs of moodiness, depression, or withdrawal.

Parents who see these types of behaviors should talk to their child about the situation. Therapy is another possible avenue to pursue. Paying attention to these signs and taking action is key to helping reduce the overall effects of the separation.

Avoid violent behavior in front of your child

Understandably, avoiding hostile behavior may be difficult for many parties going through a divorce; parties often feel hatred or anger toward one another. But, it's important for divorcing couples to understand how the affects of name calling and yelling in front of the child, for instance, can be.

This type of behavior exhibited only increases a child's stress level. Reducing violent tendencies in front of a child can help mitigate any strain the child may experience.

Avoid using your child as a messenger

In some situations, one parent may use the child as a messenger. For instance, mom may have the child tell dad something mom said in order to avoid direct contact with dad.

However, it's important for parents to keep their child out of any correspondence relating to the divorce as much as possible. This helps reduce any potential pressure on the child to "pick sides."

Remain active in your child's life

Divorcing couples often must make big changes when they divorce. Tackling a job while finding a new place to live, for instance, can lead to limited time left at the end of the day.

However, it's important that parents still devote time and attention to their child. Offering love and support will help mitigate the negative consequences the child may feel during the divorce.

Additional support

There are many other ways parents can help reduce the stress of a divorce on their child. Seeking the help of a counselor experienced in these matters, for instance, can help provide additional support during the process. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney to streamline the legal process is also advised.

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