The factors that lead to divorce tend to have a far more devastating effect on children than the actual divorce. This might include infidelity, ongoing conflict or even domestic abuse. However, even when divorces are amicable, some children remain extremely sensitive to the family separating into two parts.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, both children and parents might experience emotional trauma tied to divorce. It confirms that this can occur not just during or after the divorce, but before it takes place, as well.
What parents and professionals can do
The AAP recommends providing an age-appropriate explanation to the children of what is going on and what might lie ahead. Providing children with information and counseling can help reduce the negative effects divorce might have on development. Parents might notice a change in children within the first year of going their separate ways. After three years, most children reconcile with the new family structure.
The importance of reducing conflict
Conflict remains one of the most harmful parts of a dysfunctional relationship for children. Even when it does not escalate into domestic violence, it can create a hostile environment that makes true happiness difficult. Psychology Today recommends limiting children’s exposure to conflicts. One way to do this is to refrain from discussing topics that might lead to arguments in hearing of the children, whenever possible.
Parents should also invest in their own financial, physical and emotional well-being. Only then can they present their best selves to their children and provide a happy and healthy home for them to thrive.