How divorce affects children? Well, in multiple ways. Divorce is almost always stressful for children. Most children do not want their parents to separate.
A divorce affects children and the parent-child relationships and may lead to a lost contact with one parent, economic hardships, and increased conflict between parents. For all these reasons, most children have a hard time during the divorce transition.
How long the transition lasts depends upon on how calm or how chaotic you and your ex make it. Parents who do a good job managing the stresses of divorce for children often are surprised by how quickly their kids make the adjustment.
Divorce increases the risk children will suffer from psychological and behavioral problems. Troubled children can develop problems with anger, disobedience, rule violations and bad school achievements.
Other children become sad, depressed, anxious, or become perhaps overly responsible kids who end up caring for their parents instead of getting cared for by them.
However, the great majority of children whose parents divorce do not develop these kinds of serious behavioral or emotional problems. Most children from divorced families are resilient: they are not “children of divorce”, but just kids.
They still report painful memories and ongoing worries about divorce, their relationships with their parents, and their parents' relationship with each other. You may not be able to fully protect your children from the pain of divorce, and you probably shouldn't try. Children are entitled to their feelings.
Children need to be allowed to grieve. How divorce affects children is for instance in the parenting style. Whiteside and Becker, in the March 2000 Journal of Family Psychology, note that what seems to matter most is helping children adjust in the two years after the divorce. To minimise the negative effects and how divorce affects the children in general is for the children to experience an authoritative style of parenting.
Research has generally found this to be the most effective kind of parenting. Authoritative parents are able to provide structure but still remain flexible. They can allow the children to make some decisions on their own, while still maintaining parental control over the situation.
This kind of parenting is marked by flexibility and good consistency, coupled with emotional warmth. Parents showing an authoritative style are more likely to show active coping behaviors, feel more self-efficacy, and seek out and receive more social support.
Return to effects of divorce on children.