When parents divorce, children will likely feel at least some amount of stress from the break-up. However, the stress of divorce does not necessarily mean that children will be permanently damaged. So long as parents recognize factors that may point to problems, divorcing parents can certainly help their children thrive after divorce.
Some children may be less likely to suffer from their parents’ divorce than others. This may be because not all people handle stress in the same way. Researchers have discovered that some people are more resilient, while others are more fragile. The research studied people who were faced with a stressful situation. People who are more fragile tend to have more anxiety, depression, health problems and academic failures.
On the other hand, those who were found to be resilient did not suffer any of these symptoms when faced with stressful situations. In fact, resilient people were characterized by the following common outlooks:
- Optimism. Generally, healthier people believe that life has a purpose and that they can learn from successes and failures. Life stresses have meaning; they just need to figure out what the meaning is.
- Crises are normal. Resilient people understand that life is not perfect, and they have no expectations that life will always be smooth sailing.
- There is always a silver lining. Resilient people look for the silver lining in everything they face, including divorce. Focusing on positive changes that will result from a divorce will help them get over the difficulties that accompany divorce.
- Adversity can be conquered. Whether by determination or flexibility, resilient people believe that they will be stronger in the long run, with whatever they may face, including divorce.
- Everything is survivable. Resilient people never doubt they can survive any crises. For these parents, divorce will not prevent their children from being happy or even thriving.
- Support. A resilient parent will put bad feelings aside and place the welfare of their children as a top priority in seeking support from family members and other people who love them and their children.
Missouri parents who are contemplating divorce, or who are already divorced, should consider how resilient they themselves are. Focusing on adopting these resilient characteristics can help you navigate the emotional maze of divorce. More importantly, it can help your children overcome the difficulties that divorce often brings.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Helping Children Survive Divorce: The Importance of Psychological Resilience,” Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D., 12 July 2011