Parents’ Divorces Affect Children in Myriad Ways, Data Shows

(Photo: George Hodan, Creative Commons)

(Photo: George Hodan, Creative Commons)

Divorced parents have been advised for years to be careful about the way they speak about their ex-spouses. Even though a parent may want to vent, negative talk about their moms or dads only puts kids in an untenable situation.

But Rosalind Sedacca, founder of Child-Centered Divorce Network, writes for the Huffington Post that there is another issue that has not been discussed as much as the spousal-bashing enigma. The other no-no is not allowing children from showing or discussing their love for or sharing their discussions with the ex-spouse.

Kids will feel repressed if they are not given the freedom of talking about the fun times they have when they are with the other parent, Sedacca writes. Repression can lead to not sharing, trouble with opening up, or even lessening conversation when he or she is with the angry mother or father. Sedacca says when that problem occurs, it can take years of therapy to open the door that has been shut.

Adults must realize that loving the other parent does not indicate that the child has less love for the parent he or she is with at the time. Children will feel free to express themselves when a parent is supportive of the kid's relationship with the other parent, even if the other parent begins a romantic relationship with another person.

It is just as important for a parent not to join the conversation in a negative manner when a child expresses disapproval of their other parent. The best choice is for the parent to learn to be a "caring listener."

Psychologists have found that children of divorce are more likely to get a divorce as an adult. But perhaps it is not just the parental split that is causing the problem.

According to a recent study in the Marriage and Family Review, it is possible that there is another explanation. The researchers analyzed information about American families from 1987 to 2003 to follow how divorce and unhappy marriages affected children.

They discovered that kids who lived in families with high levels of conflict, including parental arguing, money problems, and abuse, but did not divorce, were more likely to divorce when they became adults. However, young ones from families with high conflict levels who had parents who divorced did about as well as children in families with low levels of conflict whose parents did not divorce.

These statistics point to the fact that high levels of conflict in a family is a definite problem. And sometimes divorce can be part of the solution, says TechInsider's Rebecca Harrington.

The kids from high-conflict families in which parents did not divorce were more likely to get a divorce when they were adults. Scientists believe that this could be explained by the fact that because the parents stayed in the relationship, the family was forced to withstand more conflict than if the parents had gone their separate ways. It could be that if parents are happy, even if their contentment comes from getting a divorce, the kids might also be more satisfied.

Researchers also found that when a child is exposed to conflict day after day, they become incapable of resolving problems with other people when they are older. Along with that dilemma, children can find it difficult to compromise or create solutions, and that can eventually result in failed marriages or cohabitations.

Another study published on Taylor & Francis Online established that if parents attempt to sustain a high-conflict marriage, children can have a proclivity for future mental health concerns, reports Samantha Finch for the Parent Herald.

One of the methods that has been shown to improve divorced parenting is a style called co-parenting, writes Megan McNulty for the Deseret News. This plan occurs when parents agree to make raising their children a joint project.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology says parents should talk to their children about the divorce appropriately, which can help their sons or daughters deal with the stress associated with finalizing a marriage — and to always assure the youngsters that nothing about the divorce was their fault.

05 24, 2016
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