Getting divorced is an emotionally arduous time, and while you’re taking care of yourself it’s likely that you are also worried about the impact on your children.
Divorce affects children in many different ways, but, by understanding what to expect, parents can prepare themselves and provide their children all the support that they need.
If you need legal assistance throughout your divorce, our child law solicitors can offer guidance throughout every stage, easing the effects on both you and your children.
How does divorce affect children?
1 . Emotional struggles
When their parents get divorced, children are likely to experience a wide range of emotions, including anger, sadness and anxiety. One research study from Care.org, showed a 16 per cent rise in emotional problems and an 8 per cent rise in conduct issues for children between the ages of 7 and 14 whose parents broke up.
For divorcing parents, it can be difficult to see their children going through stress. However it’s important to remember that these feelings are perfectly normal.
Parents have many options to support their children, and can help them to remedy these feelings by taking various steps, such as:
- Allow them the space to be angry and accept their emotions without judgement
- If they are uncomfortable talking to you about their emotions, support them to talk to another family member, friend or counsellor
- Support them with endorphin boosting activities that they’ll enjoy
2. Blaming themselves
When their parents are going through a divorce, it is rather normal for children to blame themselves. Your child may need plenty of reassurance that it is not their fault and it’s incredibly important that your child knows that the divorce is nothing to do with them.
Parents should avoid arguing in front of their children, as this can often reinforce the idea that they may be somehow involved, or at fault.
Thankfully, no-fault divorce processes were introduced in the UK on April 6th, 2022. The reformed law provides the potential for a less conflict-stricken divorce, to the benefit of both children and families.
3. Mental health issues
Research from Very Well Family indicated that children whose parents get divorced are often more likely to express mental health issues.
When children experience mental health issues early in life, these struggles can continue into their adult life, potentially causing relationship issues when they are older. To protect their children, it’s important that parents give their kids plenty of emotional support during this difficult time.
It can be beneficial to support children with tactics to cope with stress, whether that’s exercise or practicing creative activities.
4. School work starts to suffer
Research from the National Library of Medicine concluded that when a child’s parents get divorced, this can lower their educational attainment. To support your child with during this difficult time, the best thing that you can do is talk to their teachers at school.
If your child’s teachers are aware of the situation, they will be better prepared to offer them the support that they need. Your child’s teacher might also have advice about how you can help them with their studies at home.
5. Feeling that they need to choose
When children’s parents are getting divorced, many of them feel like they need to choose between one parent or the other. This implication can feel very stressful for children, and so it’s important to assure them that they do not need to make this decision.
Naturally, the divorce may impact your child’s living situation. When you are negotiating living arrangements, it may be helpful to include your child, where possible. For instance, some family mediation sessions allow for children to be present.
How can parents protect their children during a divorce?
To protect children during a divorce, it’s important to give your kids plenty of emotional support, and assist them with stress coping tactics to support their mental health. Ensure that they have someone to talk to, be it yourself, a friend or a counsellor.
One of the best ways to ensure a smooth divorce process is to work with an expert family lawyer who is committed to achieving the best outcome for you and your family. It’s important to find a sensitive family solicitor who’ll take mental and physical wellbeing into account, as well as focusing on a financial settlement.
If you’re looking for support throughout your divorce today, get in touch with our divorce and separation lawyers at Sharp Family Law.