While divorce can be traumatic for children, researchers have actually found that only a relatively small percentage of the 1.5 million U.S. children in divorce situations every year experience serious problems either during the divorce, or later on, as adults.
Divorce and Fear of Breaking the Family Apart
Divorcing parents are, obviously, usually very concerned about the well-being of their childrenduring the divorce process. Some parents are so worried they often feel it’s better to remain in the unhappy marriage just so that the family unit can stay intact.
Quick Recovery of Children
While divorce might be a very hard blow in the beginning, research has shown that kids actually recover fairly rapidly. A 2002 study done by psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington of the University of Virgina and her then graduate student, Anne Mitchell Elmore found that while children experience short-term negative effects such as anxiety and shock, the reactions tend to diminish or disappear by the end of the second year. Only a small amount of children appear to suffer negative effects for longer.
What Can Cause Longer Suffering in Children
Researchers have found that high levels of conflict amongst spouses during and after the divorce are associated with poorer adjustment in children. But conflict occurring before the actual separation might actually aid in the adjustment period. A 1985 study by Hetherington found that some children who experienced high levels of marital conflict prior to the actual divorce adjusted better than children who were not exposed – essentially suggesting that children who were aware of there being an issue between their parents might have been a little more prepared for the divorce, rather than being surprised or terrified by the news. Additionally, children who were privy to the issues prior to the divorce might have actually felt the divorce to be welcome relief from their parents’ fighting.
For expert advice on divorce and the effects it has on children, contact the law firm of Korol and Velen!