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Divorce & Its Impact on Your Children

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What Are the Effects of Divorce on Children?

Divorce is a major life change that can be difficult for everyone involved, especially children. While some children adjust well, others may experience emotional and behavioral challenges. Some of the potential negative effects of divorce on children include:

  • Emotional distress. Children may feel a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, confusion, anxiety, and loneliness. They may blame themselves for the divorce or worry that they won't see one parent as much.
  • Behavioral problems. Some children may act out in response to the stress of divorce. This can manifest as changes in behavior at school, with friends, or at home. They may become withdrawn, argumentative, or experience difficulty concentrating.
  • Academic challenges. The disruption caused by divorce can make it difficult for children to focus on schoolwork. They may experience a decline in grades or lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. You should tell your children’s teachers and coaches about your divorce so they can develop a plan to better support them and look for signs that they are struggling and disengaging.
  • Social difficulties. Children of divorce may have trouble forming and maintaining friendships. They may feel embarrassed about their family situation or worry that their friends will choose sides.
  • Long-term effects. In some cases, children of divorce may be at an increased risk for developing mental health problems, substance abuse issues, or difficulties in forming healthy relationships later in life.

It is important to remember that these are just potential effects, and not all children will experience them. How much divorce affects your child can also vary based on your child’s age, the amicability of your divorce, and other external factors. However, with support and guidance from parents, children can adjust to divorce and thrive.

Parental divorce can also affect adult children. Read our blog, “How Gray Divorce Can Affect Your Adult Children,” to learn more.

Will Your Kids Be Okay After Your Divorce?

Yes. As we mentioned, not all children struggle with parental divorce. It is also important to note that divorce can sometimes have a positive impact on children.

The positive effects of divorce on children include:

  • Benefiting from reduced conflict. Children are highly sensitive to tension between parents. Divorce can remove them from a high-conflict environment, leading to a calmer and more peaceful home life.
  • Developing stronger relationships with parents. In some cases, divorce can lead to parents having more quality time with their children. Divorced parents often become more intentional about scheduling one-on-one activities and prioritizing their relationships with their kids.
  • Experiencing improved mental health. When a high-conflict marriage dissolves, children may experience a decrease in anxiety and depression. This is especially true if the tension was a significant source of stress in their lives.
  • Developing more resilience and adaptability. Going through a major life change like divorce can help children develop important coping skills. They learn to adapt to new situations and navigate challenges, which can benefit them throughout their lives.
  • Benefiting from healthy relationship models. Children of divorce may be more aware of the importance of healthy communication and positive conflict resolution in relationships. They may be less likely to settle for unhealthy dynamics later in life.

At What Age Is a Child Most Affected by Divorce?

School-aged children are believed to be the age group that struggles the most with parental divorce or separation. At this stage, they have a strong grasp of family dynamics and can clearly remember the good times before the divorce.

They may also be developing feelings of guilt or blame for the situation. Additionally, their social circles are often forming, and they may worry about how the divorce will be perceived by their peers.

How Long Does It Take a Child to Adjust to Divorce?

While the first year after divorce is usually the toughest for everyone, including the kids, children often adjust around two years after the divorce. The time it takes a child to adjust after divorce varies greatly and depends on several factors, including but not limited to:

  • the child's age and temperament,
  • the level of ongoing conflict between parents,
  • the child’s ongoing relationship with both parents, and
  • the presence of a strong support system.

Experienced Divorce Attorneys

At The Neshanian Law Firm, Inc., our attorneys understand how impactful divorce can be on your whole family, which is why we are committed to offering comprehensive and compassionate counsel. If you are considering divorce, our firm is here to help. We can help you file a contested or uncontested divorce and are prepared to handle the following aspects of your divorce case:

Get started on your case today by calling (949) 577-7935.

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