A series of studies support the idea that children of divorce are not doomed to become maladjusted. In fact, research seems to indicate kids bounce back from the separation of their parents better than adults expect. The news is welcome to Fort Bend County parents who feel guilt or anxiety over their children's physical and mental health after divorce.
Many family analysts have concentrated on the behavioral and emotional responses of children after a family split. A compilation of several studies that compared children of married and divorced couples found inconsequential, long-term differences in emotions, grades, social interactions and behavior.
Social scientists do not discount that divorce jolts a child's world. A family's upheaval is traumatic for everyone involved. Research has shown that extreme reactions among children, like shock and anger, usually dialed back within two years.
Another university study followed the lives of children as they aged. The conclusion was that children from non-divorced families were just as likely to act out, suffer self-esteem problems and underachieve as pre-teens or adolescents whose parents were divorced.
Certain situations like pre-divorce spousal fighting caused some children to adjust poorly to divorce. Another study found children who witnessed parents' marital conflicts had healthier divorce adjustments than children who were sheltered from discord.
Some children had a delayed reaction to their parents' divorce. Long-range studies found relationship difficulties, depression and other problems plagued adults from divorced families more often than adults raised with married parents.
Experts agree children faced with their parents' divorce are less likely to have problems when family communication and support is strong. Minimizing conflict with an ex-spouse also helps children adjust more smoothly to the change.
Attorneys realize that stress during divorce is not confined to spouses. A lawyer may be able to recommend a family counselor to help Texas parents and their children adjust to the many changes during and after the divorce process.
Source: salon.com, "Does divorce really traumatize children?" Hal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfield, March 19, 2013