There is a lot of research about whether or not divorce can impact children. When parents are involved in a high conflict marriage, children are often better off with the parents separating rather than staying together. For children whose parents are involved in a low conflict marriage, they have a harder time adjusting.
Divorce is difficult for children and, unless the marriage is full of intense conflict, most children don’t want their parents to separate. Many children have issues during the transition. It can strain the parent and child relationship and can even lead to lost contact with one of the parents, making it even more difficult for children during that time. If parents can do a good job helping children deal with the stress of divorce, then kids can make an adjustment.
Divorce can increase the risk of behavioral issues. Children can develop problems with anger, disobedience, and other rule violations. School performance can suffer as well. Instead of acting out, children can also become depressed, anxious, or be sad.
Even kids who are resilient and don’t seem to have many problems during the transition can still report some painful memories or ongoing worries about the divorce and the relationship of their parents.
Kids can feel financial strain living in a one-parent household as another change that occurs during divorce. There may be no way to make this easier on children, as it’s a huge transition for everyone.
Children can feel the short-term effects of anxiety because it is a new and unpredictable time. Children can have questions about what is going to happen next, who is going to take care of them, and if they are losing one of their parents as they move out. When answering these questions, don’t answer with the child’s worst fear because the child can become regressive.
Many children are resilient and don’t necessarily suffer from these kinds of problems. It’s important to keep talking to children throughout the process and calm their fears.