Contrary to popular belief, Missouri children with divorced parents do not necessarily have lingering psychological damage. However, how parents address and deal with the divorce, can really affect their children’s overall feelings of stress and bad memories related to the split.
Overall, studies have found that the way parents talk to their children about their divorce significantly impacts how their children respond in later years.
For example, children who have the opportunity to talk to their parents about the divorce and ask questions are less likely to experience anxiety and feelings of helplessness. This means that children need to know their parents are going to get divorced, and be informed before any legal action is taken. Of course parents do not need to explain all the reasons why they are deciding to divorce, but they do need to give the children the opportunities to ask questions.
Children also need to know how the divorce will affect their lives to help them avoid feeling helpless and that things are just happening to them. They need to know whether they will have to move or change schools, how the divorce will affect their schedules, and which parent they will stay with.
Along these same lines of being open and honest and allowing room for questions, parents also need to consider their children’s wishes. If a child is involved in sports or an after-school activity, try to develop a visitation schedule that allows the child to continue to participate in the activity.
In the end, the message is that the process of divorce will run a lot smoother for children when both parents remain a part of their lives with a flexible co-parenting arrangement that also takes the children’s interests into consideration.
Source: Huffington Post, “Helping Children Survive Divorce: Talking to Children About Divorce,” Joseph Nowinski, Nov. 14, 2011