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Does divorce always have a negative affect on children? The answer is, no it doesn’t. Mainly because toxic marriages after divorce would more than likely provide relief from the negativity in their household, and according to research, divorced parents who develop a positive co-parenting experience for their children tend to have more of a positive effect on children. Over the years, many children have been affected by divorce before, during, and after the divorce, usually in these cases the children don’t understand why their parents are divorcing. There have also been many family cases, whose marriages had consistent high levels of conflict between the spouses, where it is easy to see why their parents split. Parents should have a positive outlook on divorce and continue to raise their children to be successful, and the parents should cooperate with one another for their children and their selves and always when divorce is on the rise, consider the children and their feelings. With this theory, statistics show that there are fewer negative effects on children in their present and future.
Research shows that, after the divorce, traditional visiting arrangements and unnecessary restrictions usually don’t consider the sake of the child. As to when the parents share custody of the children, broad visiting arrangements, and both parents are actively involved, there is a less of a negative impact. When the child is not considered, it can lead to the child experiencing changes in their mental state, behavior, concept, social problems, and their relationship with their parents. This could be due to the changes made in their life, so, keeping circumstances as close to what the children are immune to matters for the sake of the children.
Many people believe that they should workout toxic marriages for the sake of their children, but if it is creating a toxic environment for the children, it could be unhealthy. According to research, children are more understanding of the situation and may feel it as a relief, and other situations, and when the children don’t know why, that could negatively affect a child. A child will question why their parents are divorcing even though it is obvious for the parents, and this could cause the child to question was it them, or even sabotage the way they think about relationships, and this could also lead them to many unsuccessful relationships in their future and possible mental health issues. Toxic relationships aren’t healthy and showing the child love during those times is very important.
Most divorces are painful for everyone, but it is up to the parents on how they handle their emotions and shape their divorce for their children. Parents should talk with their child, create a workable co-parenting schedule, and a non-toxic co-parenting relationship. A most common issue is finances, because they are known to create negative effects on a child. This is because they may have to change schools, move into smaller homes, and change neighborhoods, and this can create negative issues with a child. According to research, in these cases when the parents are working together financially and custody wise, their child will have a less possible chance of feeling such horrible negative issues, such as depression or other mental health issues.
In a divorce, a child is losing one parent from a day to day basis to maybe every other week. Usually when the parents are working positively together, after a divorce, a child is better off before and after the first year of divorce. The first year is the hardest because everyone is getting use to the changes that have been made. Research has found that children experience distress, anger, anxiety, and disbelief, but when living arrangements, housing, school, finances, relationships remain the same and there is positive co-parenting being witnessed, after the divorce and for the sake of the child, the child will bounce back and adjust comfortably to the new living arrangements.
In an article, Dr. David Asbery shared a personal experience about divorce, and how working out the challenges of divorce and co-parenting can have a positive outcome. What many parents and children hope can be achieved after a relationship or divorce with co-parenting. This is also what can work for other families after divorce, stated in the article. One of the biggest challenges likely faced when working with parents is helping them to effectively co-parent and get along for the sake of their children. Even if it wasn’t from divorce, or if they weren’t even married. Dads have more of a challenge with an ongoing relationship with the mother of their child. Dr. Asbery’s story is definitely a great story for other dads to gain helpful tips to serve along their journey of co-parenting.
When parents are not getting along, the hardest thing for them to do is listen to one another, and from a women’s viewpoint, having a child with a man a mother is no longer or a woman a father is no longer with can be a lifelong struggle. Dr. David Asbery admitted to being glad that a divorce he experienced some negativity, but afterwards the co-parenting is finally in a space where they can smile and say hello to each other, and when looking back, Dr. wonders if all the fighting and arguing, after the separation, even mattered in where the relationship is now with their grown sons. Doctor admitted to putting his wife through hell and only wanted to prove to everyone who was right, due to being hurt and embarrassed the now ex-wife wanted a divorce.
After years of humiliation, embarrassment, child support, and potential financial ruins, and showing intense aggravation, frustration, annoyance, irritation, and even subpoenaed her grandmother. Dr. now reflects on things and looks for innovative ways to help women win. Asbery realized with helping the custodial mother of children win will contribute to increasing father involvement, and Dr.wants other dads to know that it isn’t about mom against dad, but what is best for the children. Dr. David Asbery encourage women to return to school because child support alone won’t decrease chances of living in poverty, and provides women with some forward-thinking tools and repercussions of a future with or without a future partner’s input.
Dr. David Asbery believed that if the mother is happy, the kids will be happy, and if the kids are happy, dad’s level of stress will decrease, or vice versa, this increases the chances of having a positive working relationship between the parents. After reading the article, it may seem easy, but this is not something that is easy to accomplish, because when parents are not getting along, the hardest thing to do is take a step back and listen to each other. This doctor recommends that after the final divorce, visitation is established, and custody ruling counseling should be initiated. To resolve any issue with which parent makes the payment, whichever parent’s insurance is the cheapest or the child support order should be used to cover the charge. The purpose of counseling would be to help both parents get a better understanding on how to move forward and develop a working relationship, where they both are on good terms and are willing to work together for the well-being of their children. Which will allow them to be able to smile and say hello much quicker, and this would be something positive their children will witness.
Wendy Paris is a single parent, who realized after trying to make a toxic marriage work, for the sake of their child was not exactly what their child needed. Paris wrote an article titled, ‘Yes You Can Raise Happy Children After Divorce’, where she talked about her story about divorce and her child after her and her ex-husband divorced. Before the final separation, Wendy and her ex-husband talked about splitting up before, but the main reason she couldn’t go through with it before was because of her child. With research showing most kids of divorce show no lasting negative effects on their grades or social skills, life satisfaction or self-esteem, she still wondered about the tiny, subtle shocks that don’t register on a study.
When staying in her marriage wasn’t an option anymore or a marginal marriage, Wendy started talking to researchers, clinicians, divorced parents and adult children of divorce and it became more apparent to her that she could raise a happy, healthy child in a variety of scenarios that did not include her being married to her child’s father. With many studies over the past 40 years, it shows that the typical two-parent lifestyle isn’t what a child need. About 80 percent of children of divorce adjust well and have no lasting negative effects on their grades, social adjustment, or mental health. There was a 20-year study done by a psychologist Constance Ahrons on children of divorce and a variety of other sources that shows the stated statistics. Mavis Hetherington, development psychologist, did a study on 2,500 children of divorce, and the results also showed about 80 percent of the kids are doing well.
Michael Lamb, child development expert and Cambridge University professor, did a meta-study, “ Mothers, Fathers, Families, and Circumstances: Factors Affecting Children’s Adjustment”, which typically sums up the features of a supportive childhood. This included: children do well when they have good relationships with both parents or primary caregivers, adults who basically get along, but don’t have to live in the same house, children benefit from emotionally stable parents- adults who are recuperated enough, in the case of divorce, to focus on the basic job of parenting, including establishing stability, exercising fair discipline, providing love and being emotionally responsive, but also don’t have to live in the same home, children need adequate resources such as food, safe housing, and social support, but don’t need a mansion with every toy available and can be provided from parents who are not together or married or not living in the same home. With this being stated, Lamb’s overview is that marriage isn’t what matters so much to a child’s wellbeing, but a loving relationship with parents who aren’t in conflict with each other, and a decent home life. All families have good and bad times, but children will face numerous of other disappointments as they grow through life. In other words, children are going to go through many things in life that will mold them into being who they will become, and with divorce, parents have control over how their children look at relationships in their future or if they will suffer from mental issues from divorce. With the needs mentioned in this article for children of divorce, Lamb’s overview is possible.
As for Wendy Paris, she came up with her own Five Principles for Positive Co-Parenting. This included: because we know that high conflict between the parents is one of the most damaging experiences for children, we can foster cooperation with our co-parent, and work to squash conflict, then because we know that children benefit from stability, we can focus on establishing new routines that work in our newly structured lives. Next, without a spouse around blame for, well, everything, we can let divorce challenge us to be a better and more focused parents. To bring our personal strengths to our child-rearing, and also, we can look for ways that the very characteristics of our ex that annoyed us in marriages may benefit our children and how great it is to have a parent who likes the outdoors, then we can create positive moments for our children that have nothing to do with the state of their parents’ love life. We can foster engagement in outside activities and with other supportive adults, and because we understand that being emotionally present for our children rests on our own recuperation, we can prioritize taking care of the caregivers which are ourselves.
Near the end of Wendy’s story, she mentioned speaking with Elizabeth, a twenty-something from a tiny Texas town whose parents divorced when she was two, about her mother and father. Who worked hard and maintained a cordial, non-isolated relationships after there divorce and still, to this day, they remain that way. Elizabeth also stated that she felt more loved than she thinks she would have if they were still married. With control over the home life and relationships that are created, but no child should become lifelong victims because their parents didn’t remain married, and even though parenting while divorced can require new education, the extra attention should be paid to your own mental and physical state and to your children.
“Protecting Children’s Mental Health”, states that co-parenting have a significant impact on children’s mental health, and it isn’t just the divorce itself. It all depends on how the family deal with the new situation. In a new systematic review, research reveals that children of divorced parents are at a higher risk of mental health problems if their parents are in conflict or unable to resolve romantic problems. Dr. Diogo Lamela led a research and allows the fact that parents’ confusion of roles is a big problem because marital co-parenting conflict is the major factor that can affect children’s psychological wellbeing after divorce. It’s not the divorce itself that can jeopardize children’s wellbeing, but how parents can work together to divide their problems and their past marital relationship from the co-parenting relationship. Sometimes, parents have problems mixing their roles in this family transition.
For Lamela’s review, he identified 11 peer reviewed empirical papers published between January 2000 and October 2014, and that aimed to assess the association between co-parenting and psychological development or function in children with divorced parents. Dr. Diogo Lamela’s review revealed a significant association between co-parenting and children’s mental health, explaining up to 46 percent of the variance in children’s psychological adjustment. So, with children exposed to co-parenting conflict are more than likely to have issues with problems such as attention deficit. The children’s perception predicted anxiety and depression and co-parental hostility and conflict were associated with lower levels of self esteem in children.
Positive co-parent relationships appeared to be a protective factor for the academic performance and psychological wellbeing of children. With health, positive co-parenting relationships, children are less likely to experience mental health issues due to their parents’ divorce. With few studies trying to understand the relationship between mental health and toxic co-parenting relationships, Lamela’s systematic review can be a significant contribution to a new step in research in this field. Positive co-parenting is highly recommended, for the wellbeing of the child, after family’s divorce, and this is important with the rates of divorce rising every day.
Another common issue that cause conflict with co-parenting is when one of the parents aren’t handling their responsibilities with the children as they should. This caused their co-parenting relationship to be stressful and negative, because it is a type of control or abuse from the other partner and shows the inability of the ex to separate marital issues from the co-parenting relationship. This causes the opposite parent to become concerned with how the ex is raising the children. When the ex-partner is being irresponsible with the children causes one to not want to share custody. Therefore, always being responsible with the children, no matter what, is a factor in having a positive co-parenting relationship, and 45 percent of mother’s experience this after divorce.
Many people who have not experienced a positive co-parenting relationship or haven’t tried to work their co-parenting relationship out for the sake of their child would more than likely try to justify the theory that, children have more of a positive affect from divorces when parents, in the end, establish a healthy, positive relationship. With lots of love and support, which a child needs based on research after divorce, a child can continue life with a positive outlook on marriage, parenting, co-parenting, and divorce. Parents should always consider their child or children during and after divorce, which is a lot of time overlooked to do. With toxic marriages and toxic co-parenting, a child tends to have more negative affects in their present and future such as, bad relationships, mental health issues, and other reasons mentioned.
With the many divorces, the rate of negatively affected children could change, but for this to become a reality, parents should always show love, communicate, and positive co-parenting. In toxic marriage cases, do what is best for your family and seek relief and better for the parents and the children. It is well-known that positive relationships and environments create positive outcomes, and this can be applied to divorces and how to continue raising their children to be successful and have successful relationships throughout life. With marriages ending more and more every day, these are important facts that should be shared amongst families near divorce or families going through divorce. The world needs more positive relationships to create more positive people.
- Benson, Harry (September 16, 2014). When, and Why Divorce, Hurts Kids. https://ifstudies.org/blog/when-and-why-divorce-hurts-kids/
- Morin, Amy (August 24, 2018). The Psychological Effects of Divorce on Children. https://www.verywellfamily.com/psychological-effects-of-divorce-on-kids-4140170
- Emery, Robert E. (08/15/2004). The Truth about Children and Divorce: Dealing with the Emotions So You and Your Child can Thrive. http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2004-17642-000
- Hakimi, Motti and Lerner, Aaron (February 6, 2016). The Impact of Parental Separation and Divorce on the Health Status of Children, and the Ways to Improve It. https://www.omicsonline.org
- Asbery, Dr. David (Jul 21, 2017). Dr. David Asbery on Navigating After Divorce and Co-Parenting. https://www.fatherhood.org/fatherhood/navigating-after-divorce-and-co-parenting
- Paris, Wendy ( Mar 17, 2015). Yes, You Can Raise Happy Children After Divorce. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/splitopia/201503/yes-you-can-raise-happy-children-after-divorce
- Van Hilten, Lucy Goodchild ( September 1, 2016). Protecting Children’s Mental Health. https://www.elsevier.com/atlas/story/people/protecting-childrens-mental-health
- Moraru, Aurelia, Vasilescu, Camelia (2015). The Influence of Parents’ Marital Status on Coping Strategies at Children. Romanian Journal of Experimental Applied Psychology 2015 Special Issue, Vol. 6, p71-71. 1p.
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