Divorce can be an extremely difficult experience for children. As moms and dads adapt to single parenting methods and new ways of communicating, children are often left feeling confused, hurt, and lost in the shuffle. Fortunately, there are things divorcing parents can do to help protect their children from many of the effects of divorce.
Collaborative Divorce: Prevention is Key
As an increasing number of Illinois parents begin to realize the adverse effect divorce may have on their children, more couples are starting to turn to collaborative divorce than ever before. A collaborative divorce is extremely beneficial to families in a variety of ways. It is typically less expensive than a traditional divorce, which can help prevent financial hardship and the emotional stress that accompanies it.
Additionally, since each parent and his or her family law attorney participates respectfully, honestly and in good faith to resolve the issues at hand, children are usually exposed to less tension and conflict, and they enjoy the benefits of more effective co-parenting.
Reduce Exposure to Conflict in a Divorce
In some situations, divorcing amicably is simply not possible. Even still, it is important to minimize the amount of exposure kids have to the conflict at hand. Parents should avoid arguing, name-calling, making derogatory remarks, and other negative behaviors around their children.
Recognizing the Effects Divorce is Having on the Children
According to an article in the New York Times, research reveals that sometimes children have a particularly difficult time with divorce regardless of how things are handled. Therefore it is important for parents to be on the lookout for signs that their children may be having a tough time adjusting. Common indications that difficulty may exist include:
- Poor Academic Performance: During a divorce, confusion, distraction, and upset of daily schedules and activities can make it difficult for children to focus on schoolwork.
- Change in Social Activity: Sometimes kids feel insecure and isolated when their family is going through a divorce. Parents may notice reduced social anxiety, or even a change in friends/ groups.
- Acting out and Emotional Sensitivity: The stress, change and emotional upset can be overwhelming for a child. Parents may notice increased emotional sensitivity, irritability, anger or other behavioral issues. Without an appropriate outlet, these issues can magnify.
- Destructive Behavior: Sometimes, unresolved conflict can cause children to rebel through destructive behavior. They might take up smoking, drinking alcohol, or using drugs.