How to Protect Your Children From the Harmful Effects of Divorce

Divorcing fathers are often concerned about their children’s well-being during and post-divorce. Common issues that arise is how to protect the relationship they have with their children, and how their children is coping with the divorce.

Researchers have found that a small percentage of children encounter serious problems as adults due to their parents’ divorce.

Divorce affects most children in the short run, but research suggests that kids recover rapidly after the initial blow. In a 2002 study psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington of the University of Virginia and her then graduate student Anne Mitchell Elmore found that many children experience short-term negative effects from divorce, especially anxiety, anger, shock and disbelief. These reactions typically diminish or disappear by the end of the second year. Only a minority of kids suffer longer.

A key indicator regarding whether a child will experience serious problems as an adult stems from high levels of parental conflict during and after a divorce. As a parent, It is important during this time to work on your co-parenting skills to ensure your children are living in healthy non-hostile environments.

Children fare better if parents can limit conflict associated with the divorce process or minimize the child’s exposure to it. Further, children who live in the custody of at least one well-functioning parent do better than those whose primary parent is doing poorly. In the latter situation, the maladjusted parent should seek professional help or consider limiting his or her time with the child. Parents can also support their children during this difficult time by talking to them clearly about the divorce and its implications and answering their questions fully.

What techniques did you use to protect your children from the harmful effects of your divorce? Do you recommend any course of action in particular for single fathers?