When you break the news of your divorce to your children, the initial reaction is likely to be confusion or panic. It can be difficult to understand the implications of a divorce, especially for younger kids.
Parents who do well at remaining amicable throughout their divorce might not notice any immediate psychological effects of the split on their children. As time goes by, though, you should be aware of issues that may emerge as the kids grow older.
What are the long-term effects of divorce on children?
The long-term effects of divorce are psychological in nature, meaning that they may be subtle and unnoticeable. Tension or conflict between yourself and your co-parent can also be subtle, to the point that you might not notice feelings of animosity while your child certainly will. Prolonged periods of feeling as if they must choose which parent is “right” and which one is “wrong” can eventually lead to deeper confusion or even mistrust in your children.
How can you protect your children from the effects of divorce?
The best way to ensure that your children grow up happy is by maintaining a constructive family dynamic. Even if you do not see eye-to-eye with your co-parent, your responsibility to your children supersedes any personal grudges you might hold. Children have an equal need for both parents, and that is a need you must satisfy while remaining respectful toward the other party.
Children can be surprisingly adept at hiding their feelings and worries. Even if your divorce does not initially seem to be a source of discontent for your kids, the underlying effects can build up over the years unless you and your co-parent take steps to uphold a healthy family environment.