According to U.S. News & World Report, certain factors increase the negative impact on children of divorce. While divorce is in your best interest when you and your spouse are unable to exist amicably, it can still affect children, both in the short and long-term.
According to a study conducted by Arizona State University, children caught in the middle of a contentious divorce, one where there is lots of arguing and conflict, are more likely to develop fears of abandonment in the future. Additionally, these fears increased the chance that kids will develop mental health problems.
How can you mitigate this effect on your children while going through a divorce? Researchers pinpointed two things parents can do:
Reduce conflict in front of your children
The negative impact kids experience during divorce has much to do with how much conflict they witness between their parents. This makes kids feel put in the middle by their parents, particularly when they must convey messages between the two.
Parents must protect children from any arguments or heated debates, and to never subject children to being messengers. Conflict is natural during this time, but it should remain between you and your spouse.
Emphasize that your children will receive the same love and care
You can also combat the fear of abandonment by conveying to kids that your love and affection towards them will not change. Explain that divorce does not affect your relationship with them, nor does it prevent them from having a loving relationship with the other parent.
The divorce process is rarely easy, and your children are likely to feel sad about the event. However, by limiting conflict and supporting them emotionally, you can prevent many negative long-term effects.