Marriage Divorce and Children's Adjustment

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Divorce is a disturbing phase in the life of any couple. It breaks the bond created on the basis of commitment and love. Thus, it is very difficult for the spouses to accept the conditions and move on. If there are children in a marriage, a divorce can be a life-changing incidence for them. Many children suffer from the feeling of insecurity and loss of love. Some of them show the harmful consequences on their behavior even after getting older. There are many aspects related to the children's adjustment after the divorce of parents.

The adjustment of children post divorce becomes challenging due to one or more of the following reasons -

  • Involvement of non custodial father
  • Psychological adjustment and parenting practices of the custodial parent (in most cases it is the mother)
  • Parental conflict
  • Loss of family income

Tips about Marriage, Divorce and Children's Adjustment

  • If there are too many arguments between the parents in presence of the children, this might results in poor adjustment of the children after divorce. Therefore, the parents should take care to keep their issues to themselves instead of disclosing them in front of their children.

  • If the parents maintain and increase their participation in children activities, (like involvement in after school activities), there are better chances of adjustment for the child after divorce. The reason being involved with the activities with child would ensure him/her that parents are still dependable.

  • If the parents insist for a consistent bedtime, incorporate rules and restrictions about television shows and limit the intake of certain foods, the child feels that the family atmosphere is normal The discipline of the family should be maintained even after separation. That makes the child comfortable and adjustable to new conditions.

  • The child must not feel any guilt about switching between the custodial and non custodial parent's residences. The parents must not exhibit any dispute or bitterness about this schedule. The disputes should be cleared primarily by the parents in absence of the children.

Divorce and Children's Adjustment as per Gender

  • The most consequential factor connecting divorce and a girl's antisocial demeanor is her mother's parenting style. The level of her father's parenting has little impact on this connection.

  • Dispute between parents before the divorce raises the possibility of depression in boys. Such a parental conflict is interpreted as a threat of parental loss by the male child, and is disturbing for him.

  • Dispute between parents after the divorce increases a girl child's risk of developing conduct problems. Fighting between the parents results in emotional anxiety for the girl child and she exhibits it in her deviant behavior. Moreover, dispute between the parents becomes a role model for the girl and she thinks it is legitimate to display antisocial attitude towards marriage.

  • Boys may develop external problems due to a bad quality of the custodial mother's parenting and the father's involvement in parenting. It is observed that Boy's expect their father to take more active part in the upbringing.

  • Divorce may result in the adverse effects on both boys and girls in the following ways -
    • Substance abuse
    • Delinquency
    • Early entry into sexual activity
    • Lower levels of academic achievement
  • Although the boys in divorced families have mothers who execute competent parenting and display positive psychological adjustment, these boys show more depression than their peers in intact families.

  • Boys are more emotionally disturbed than girls due to parental divorce.

  • If the non custodial father displays active engagement (and not just contact) in the role of a parent, it would considerably decrease the possibility of conduct problems for the boy child.

  • For both boys and girls, the quality of the mother's parenting nullifies much of the connection between divorce and adjustment.

  • If the father simply shares considerable time with the children and play the role of a mate, it does not impact the development of the children. It is necessary, particularly in the case of boys, that father continues to be actively involved as a parent.

How to inform the children about divorce

To inform children about the break-up of the family is the most difficult thing for all parents. But, there are some ways through which the process can be simplified and made less stressful. These ways are -

  • Always tell the true version of the story instead of hiding the important details from them. If the children get to know the truth later, they feel being cheated by their own parents.
  • Joint parenting plan is the important thing that can recover the children from the shock of separation. Make sure that both parents handle the children together while telling them about a divorce.
  • Ensure that you provide sufficient time to the children to cope up with the termination of family bond. Encourage them to express their feelings in front of parents and never leave them alone during the divorce period.

These are some of the ways through which children's adjustment during divorce can be taken care of.

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