Almost half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Divorce is one of the most stressful life events for both children and their parents. Major stressors and risk factors include the initial period after separation, parental conflict, the loss of vital relationships, financial problems, and re-partnering or remarriage.
While some children seem to adapt to all of these changes with relative ease, some children are particularly hard-hit by divorce and don’t bounce back as quickly or easily as others. Some children will demonstrate changes in their behaviors, such as becoming more aggressive, disruptive behavior at school or home, anxiety, depression and problems with peers. In these situations it can be very helpful to work with a therapist who can give you guidance on how to handle the tough situations and conversations that arise. Some children also gain a great deal from talking to a therapist on their own. They often are freer to express feelings that they think will hurt their parents.
And here’s the good news: While it is true that a divorce is hard on everyone in involved, if children continue to feel loved by both of their parents and both parents work to create a stable environment for their children, and they get the external support that they need (if they need it), children can emerge from the situation in good shape. Over time they will be calmer and feel more secure as things become more familiar and routine.
Academic resources used in this article include:
Psychology Today, Meri Wallace, 2018
Dartmouth, Sarah-Marie Hopf, 2010