Divorce is not easy. While it is a decision that is made in hopes of bringing a better future, divorce in a family where there are children also brings many worries and concerns.
Children from divorced families find themselves at a higher risk for a multitude of childhood and adolescent problems, including behavior problems, anxiety, depression, and academic problems. However, it is important to know that it is not the divorce that has the impact on child development- it’s the parenting after divorce that affects children.
A strong parent-child relationship can help ameliorate the negative affects of divorce. When parents have the tools for communicating effectively with their children, they are better able to manage their children’s behavior problems. And when children feel comfortable communicating with their parents regarding the divorce, they are able to cope more effectively.
Some valuable things to consider:
While your spouse may no longer be your partner, he/she will always be your child’s parent. Referring to him/her as your child’s parent (as opposed to calling him/her your “ex”) respects that relationship.
What happened in the marital relationship is separate from what happens in the parenting relationship.
Don’t impose your feelings about your former spouse on your child. Your son or daughter may feel very differently about his/her parent than how you feel about that person.
The kind of spouse your husband/wife was is not the same as the kind of parent they are.
Divorce is a time of many changes for children. Recognize the stress each change creates and the support needed.
Need motivation to resolve conflicts with your former spouse? Remember: lower levels of inter-parental conflict predict better psychological well-being and academic achievement for children.
I'm a mom of four children, a wife, and a Licensed Professional Counselor. My parenting life helps me be a better counselor, and my professional experience helps me be a better mom. Both allow me to be creative, to learn and grow, to make mistakes, and to rarely sleep. I love the beach and gardening, reading if I can stay awake, running (which these days is after my kids and not much else), and using humor through it all!
DISCLAIMER: This site is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice, legal advice, or professional services. If you feel that you have a medical problem, you should seek the advice of your physician or health care practitioner.