Children Coping with Divorce
A recent study reports that the coping skills of children of divorced parents can depend largely on how the parents react to the situation. Divorce affects children in many different ways and children typically experience varied feelings and emotions, but the feelings depend mostly on the nature of the child’s relationship with parents prior to the divorce, how arguments and disagreements were handled, and whether or not the parents took the child’s feelings into consideration.
Researchers from the Institute of Behavioral Research at the University of Georgia found that for the most part, a child’s period of adjustment and the problems encountered were dependent on the home and family situation following the divorce. The researchers found that the prevailing thought that divorce leaves children emotionally scarred for life is not always true. It was found that children can deal surprisingly well with the changes and adjustments required in a divorce if their parents remain healthy and happy throughout the ordeal. The study showed that even though the divorce experience is undeniably hard on kids, if it ends ongoing disputes between the parents, the overall result can be a happier family.
Pay attention to the signals. Some of the most common negative emotions children experience in a divorce experience are: denial, abandonment, preoccupation with gathering information, preoccupation with reconciliation attempts, anger and hostility, depression, immaturity, blame, guilt and acting out.
Both parents share the responsibility for helping their children maintain a positive attitude before, during and after a divorce event. Maintaining a positive relationship with children as they are going through a divorce process can go a long way toward reducing the stress and negative emotions they experience.