Divorce is an unfortunate reality for many couples throughout Washington. In addition to the spouses of course, one of the most affected parties to a divorce is a child or children. Couples who are thinking about divorce should consider the strain it could place on their kids, and what to do to minimize any negative effects. Below is an overview of the effects of divorce on children.

Divorce Effects on Children

How exactly can divorce affect children in a negative fashion? In the book, Should I Keep Trying to Work it Out? the authors note a number of possible effects.

  • Some children may feel they are losing one parent.
  • Some might develop fragile emotional security.
  • Children might express emotional insecurity in a number of ways.

The ways that children may express insecurity are as follows.

  • Anger expressed towards others
  • Breaking the rules
  • Sleep problems
  • Defying parents and authority figures
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Withdrawal
  • Drug/alcohol abuse
  • Early sexual activity
  • Thoughts of suicide or violence

Some children might assume that the divorce was in some way their fault. Of course, not all children experience these issues. Much depends on the circumstances and the individual child. There may even be some things parents can do that could help lessen the impact of the divorce on the children.

What You Can Do to Lessen the Impact of Divorce on Your Kids

Work with the other parent to craft a child custody agreement that allows plenty of time with both parents. Even if this doesn’t mean an equal 50/50 split in time spent with each parent, try to ensure that even the noncustodial parent remains a major and active part of the child’s life.

Also work with the other parent on parenting matters. Make sure you’re both on the same page and both parents are enforcing the same rules with the same consequences. This can maintain consistency for the child. It might also reduce conflicts between the parents regarding matters of parenting.

While there may be some degree of animosity between the parents, try to keep it in check as much as possible. If arguments do occur, keep it away from the children so they cannot see or hear it. Of course, do not try to turn the child against the other parent. Avoid speaking badly about the other parent and always encourage their healthy relationship.

We also put together this list of resources for children of divorce that you and your child might find helpful.

Let an Attorney Help You with Family Law Matters

Divorce is never easy. There are emotional, financial, and legal burdens that you must address. Get help from Molly B. Kenny with any family law matters related to divorce. With a legal representative handling divorce and child custody matters, it may take some of the stress out of the process. Give us a call at 425-460-0550 to set up your consultation.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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