Is Divorce Bad for Children?

by Norris Law Group on November 25, 2013

Is Divorce Bad for Children?Divorced or divorcing parents naturally worry about how their child(ren) may handle the experience of divorce. But in an article in Scientific American, authors Hal Arkowitz and Scott Lilienfield suggest that divorced and separated parents may be encouraged by recent research.

A 2002 study by University of Virginia psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington and her graduate assistant Anne Mitchell Elmore found that while many children of divorce experience negative effects such as anxiety, anger, shock and disbelief in the short term. These feelings, however, lessen or disappear entirely after two years.

Paul R. Amato of Pennsylvania State University further found that the majority of children of divorce also do well in the longer term. In a 2001 literature, Amato examined the effects of divorce on children several years after the fact. These studies found only very small differences in academic achievement, emotional/behavioral issues, and relationships between children of divorced parents and those from married parents. These findings suggest that children tend ot bounce back from divorce well.

Research has also found that several factors reduce problems children may experience after divorce. These include:

  • Children fare better if they are not exposed to conflict between parents.
  • Children who live in the custody of at least one well-functioning parent do better than those whose primary parent is not thriving.

Solid parenting may also act as a buffer to problems related to divorce. Ideally, the home environment should provide of warmth, emotional support, economic stability, and well-placed discipline. Supportive teachers, relatives and peers can also be of tremendous help.

In short, research has shown that while the experience of divorce is certainly hard and may be very painful for children, it is likely that most children will recover from divorce very well.

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.


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