There are plenty of parents who are arguing and very unhappy in their marriages, yet they continue to stay together thinking that it’s in the best interests of the children. But, it turns out that what is really best for children is to be in a loving and caring environment, even if that means going back and forth between mom’s house and dad’s house.
Many used to think that divorce would have a negative, life-long effect on a child. However, research has since found that 75 percent of children of divorce have no negative psychological, social or academic difficulties. Statistically, the percentage of children of divorce who do experience negative issues is the same as those children whose parents stayed together yet did not get along.
What this goes to show is that how parents treat each other is what really impacts the children.
This being said, the first thing for parents going through a divorce to keep in mind is that it is quite normal for children to have mood swings and other negative behaviors for the first two years following a divorce or separation. This is why it’s particularly important for parents to send a clear and consistent message to children.
Within that message children should be reassured that the divorce was not their fault and had nothing to do with them. They should also know that both of their parents still love them and that they will be cared for. When questions do arise about why there was a divorce, parents also need to make sure to have the same answer.
Under no circumstances should the child ever be blamed for the divorce or should inappropriate information about why there was a divorce be shared. For example, if infidelity was an issue during the marriage — while it may be painful for the parents — this is not something that needs to be discussed with the children.
Lastly, when it comes to consistency, this also needs to be true when it comes to parenting. This means the same rules, consequences and rewards between mom and dad.
Source: Cary Citizen, “Your Health: How Does Divorce Affect Children?” Kat North, Sept. 11, 2012