The effect of divorce on children? Not nearly as bad as reported

By September 22, 2011Child Custody

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C posted in Child Custody on Thursday, September 22, 2011

The early research on the effects of divorce on children was bleak: the kids of divorce had poor grades, low self-esteem, tended to be depressed and to get into trouble, and eventually wound up having difficult adult relationships that also ended in divorce.

However, according to clinical psychologist Joseph Nowinski, those gloomy predictions based on early studies were inaccurate because the research was based on small sample sizes. The research also failed to compare children of divorce to kids whose families stayed together.

More recent research shows that kids whose parents divorce fall within the normal range.

Nowinski says “the actual differences between…children [of divorce] and children living within intact families turns out to be less than the early research would lead us to believe.”

He says parents facing the prospect of divorce can breathe a sigh of relief: their divorce doesn’t condemn their kids to lifetimes of depression and dysfunction.

He says that while the majority of children whose parents divorce weather that family storm, some do not. He says there are lessons to be learned from the examples of those children and their parents.

An important factor for children who have a tough time overcoming the difficult time of divorce is simple economics. Children whose standard of living declines significantly after a divorce might have trouble coping with those changes.

Another important factor: parental conflict. Those kids whose parents continue to fight after a divorce tend to struggle more than children whose parents let go of their disputes and disagreements after they separate and end their marriage.

Another facet of that same issue, he says, is parental involvement. Those children whose non-custodial parents stay involved in their lives after the divorce do better in school and have fewer behavioral problems than those children who see a parent drop out of their lives following the divorce.

To learn more about the pitfalls and benefits of divorce, talk to an experienced divorce attorney who understands the process and can help craft custody and support agreements that help children and parents get through a tough time.

Source: Huffington Post: “Helping Children Survive Divorce: Three Critical Factors”: Joseph Nowinski: Sept. 22, 2011