Helping Children Adjust to Divorce

Divorce | Divorce Advice for Children

Children of Divorce

Divorce is one of the most stressful things adults and children experience. The severity of the effects of divorce on children depends on many issues. These include:

. Emotional attitudes of parents
. Financial situation
. Age of children

Emotional Attitudes of Parents

These are just a few of the issues to consider that affect children of divorce. The most significant issue is the emotional attitudes of parents. Some divorcing parents manage to maintain civility and mature attitudes throughout the divorce process. This is always the best environment for children of divorcing parents. When hostility between parents is obvious, even non-verbal hostility is observed by children. This often creates hurtful, fearful feelings for younger children.

The Financial Situation

The financial situation of the parents has a lot to do with the effects of divorce on children. Children in financially stable families tend to be less affected by divorce than children whose lives are seriously affected by a loss of financial stability.

Child support is not always dependable and if parental custody is left solely to the mother, financial stability is most affected by the lower incomes paid to women and a parent who must rely on daycare, which adds to the financial burden.

The Age of Children

The age of children plays a large role in the effects of divorce. Infants are less affected due to their lack of awareness. Toddlers do pick up emotional actions and reactions from parents which may cause them stress. Generally, preteens and teens are most affected by divorce. Often, they feel divorce is their fault. Parents may also inadvertently send subliminal messages that make children feel as if they must “choose” between one parent or the other. This depends on the physical and mental health of both parents. In cases of physical or mental abuse, custody decisions are decided by the court and child welfare agencies.

The degree to which older children are affected by divorce depends on the individual child’s ability to understand their parents as distinctly different individuals. In hostile homes where abuse occurs, children may accept divorce as a safety issue.