One of the primary concerns Pennsylvania parents have when a marriage ends is how divorce will affect their children. Even as they go through their own emotional upheaval, many couples will work diligently to make sure that a divorce doesn’t negatively impact their children.
In reality, despite your best efforts, divorce will change your children’s lives. The odds are that each child will have a different reaction, usually based on his or her age and maturity level. Research shows that many of the same issues arise in children of divorce.
Your children could experience the following
Losing regular contact with a parent, moving back and forth between parents’ homes and other changes that come with divorce could cause your children to experience one or more of the following:
- Many children exhibit either new or worse behavioral issues
- Mental health issues such as depression could manifest
- The academic performance of many children tends to decrease
- Teenagers in particular might engage in risky behaviors that they would otherwise not consider such as drug use and underage drinking
While all children of divorce don’t act out or experience these types of issues, divorce is typically difficult for all chidlren.
Your children need you
How you and your ex handle divorce and child custody issues can make a huge difference in how your children adjust:
- Neither of you should suspend discipline during the divorce or after. Many parents think that being more lenient helps their children, but it doesn’t.
- Keep conflict to a minimum, especially in the presence of the children. The more peaceful your co-parenting experience is, the better off the children will be.
- Keep the kids out of the middle of your relationship. They shouldn’t be shuttling messages back and forth or be in a position where they must choose sides.
- Make sure your children feel secure and safe, teach them coping skills and give them the freedom to come to you with any concerns, anxieties or fears.
- Keep the lines of communication open and maintain a good relationship with each child.
It may also be beneficial for you and your children to see a professional counselor who can help you all work through issues connected to divorce.