Managing The Effects Of Divorce On Children

As Tennessee parents go through divorce, they need to also focus on their children’s wellbeing. While it can be hard to ease their children’s emotions about the end of the marriage when the parents might be struggling themselves, parents should attempt to make decisions and behave in ways that show their children that their parents love and support them.

Divorce involves a wide range of emotions

Even before the dissolution of the marriage, children who witness their parents’ constant conflict as it leads to divorce, begin experiencing a wide range of emotions. These emotions can continue long after the divorce is finalized if the parents do not focus on supporting their children. The emotions experienced by children include:

  • Grief
  • Rage
  • Confusion
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

When these emotions are ignored during the divorce process, research shows that they might be the catalyst for further mental health and addiction issues as the children grow.

What parents can do

A child’s developing identity is usually first linked to their concept of family and their bond with their two parents. When divorce threatens this bond, the effects can be long-running. However, even as they struggle themselves, parents can work towards reassuring and helping their children work through these emotions. Some of the things parents can do include:

  • Figuring out how to co-parent effectively so that their children trust that both parents are committed to them
  • Encouraging the relationship the children have with the other parent
  • Allowing the children to speak about and experience their emotions
  • Getting the children additional professional help such as with a therapist
  • Learning to communicate in a positive, respectful manner with the other parent

While research has shown many negative effects of divorce on children, parents can work through this to counteract the long-term effects. Remembering that the best interests of the children should come first, even in the middle of a divorce should help parents move forward.