One of the most common questions that parents ask when they’re thinking about a divorce is, “Will the children be okay?”
The emotional welfare of the children is such a big concern that many parents delay divorce for years, even when the marriage has clearly decayed beyond repair. If you’re putting off a divorce because you’re worried about the effect it will have on your kids, you should familiarize yourself with what psychologists have to say about the matter.
Yes, divorce will have an impact
Divorce does have a traumatic impact on the children. Most children experience all the things you would typically expect after the announcement of their parent’s impending divorce, including shock, anger and anxiety. However, those feelings tend to be limited. After about a year, most kids will have moved past their initial reactions.
Most children recover just fine
Studies that looked at both children of divorced parents and children of intact marriages show very little difference in the long-run. Most kids recover just fine from their parents’ divorce in terms of their emotional health. There’s little evidence that divorce will have any long term effects on a child’s academic achievements, self-esteem, behavior or social skills.
You can influence the outcome.
What does make some children fail to recover from their parents’ divorce? Over and over again, researchers found that high-conflict divorces are the ones that tend to produce the most damage. However, they also found that staying in a high-conflict marriage could have a similar impact.
In other words, you can make it easier on your children by reducing the amount of conflict they experience in their immediate family. If your marriage is a constant battle, divorce may actually benefit your children. If you’re in the midst of a divorce, do everything you can to minimize the conflict your child is exposed to, even if that means scaling back some of your demands.
If you’ve been putting off a divorce because of the children, it might help to consult a psychologist before you consult a divorce attorney. That way, you can discuss the situation with a professional and move forward with reassurance.