Divorce can have a devastating impact on families and in particular, children. Youngsters of all ages are affected negatively by divorce in different ways, whether it’s because of domestic violence at home, a long and acrimonious split or parents moving to different locations. However, there are some positive outcomes to be had too. We look at how the fortunes of children with divorced parents can be transformed even after divorce…
A more relaxed home environment
Whether a divorce has been a turbulent and difficult process, or there has been a level of amicability within it, finalising a divorce can feel a relief for many children. There are lots of different issues such as child care arrangements, financial settlements and dividing property that can ignite conflict in even the most amicable cordial of divorces. This can result in children feeling uncertain of their future, having to make big and difficult decisions and generally feeling stressed. When tension is removed, children can return to prioritising having fun with their friends, family and concentrating on school work. With parents who are more settled and away from conflict, they can enjoy a more relaxed home environment.
Although surprising, the health of existing relationships can improve as a result of divorce, and it can even improve the health and development of children in some cases. Children who once lived together with both parents may have found that although physically present, they did not have as much time for them. When divorcing parents realise they now have allotted time with their children, they begin to ensure this time is as high quality as possible. This one-to-one time with each parent can be hugely beneficial to children, helping them realise their parents still love and care for them, boosting their self-esteem and forming a stronger connection. Also, children may often become closer to their siblings who they now share a stronger affinity with, having both experienced their parents’ divorce together.
The elimination of a toxic home environment
The impact of domestic abuse on children is often profound. All forms of abuse from mental, sexual and physical can leave children of all ages with depression, anxiety, physical health conditions such as heart disease, obesity and low self-esteem and risky behaviour. It’s clear to understand that being removed from this harmful space gives children immediate relief and time to get used to doing the things they enjoy and need to do as a child.
Increased personal resilience
When given guidance and good parenting, children from divorced parents can go on to become adaptable and emotionally stronger. They become used to changing homes, moving their things, meeting new partners and potential step-siblings. As they grow used to communicating about contact and living arrangements, many young people can develop their planning, organising and communication skills more quickly as they transition into adulthood. They may make new friends in new locations and living in different areas may provide them with a more rounded view of the world as they grow up. When life transitions are directed well by parents, children can develop good coping skills for future life events. They may also become more sympathetic for their peers going through something similar in the future, another character attribute that can serve them well as they become adults.
Most children whose parents have been through divorce, only know their parents being together and the change in circumstances can be considerable. If one parent moves from the family home it can feel like an abandonment – the first few years are the most difficult but if handled well with children can come out on top. Growing up with two unhappy parents can be much more damaging though – children need support whether they are toddlers or teenagers.