When a married couple with children decides to split, often their biggest concern is how the divorce will affect their children. Many parents who have chosen to live their lives apart worry that their children will think the breakup was their fault or will resent the parents for it. Divorced parents are also often concerned that their children will not be the same after a divorce, but research shows that there is reason to be hopeful. Most children of divorce are able to adapt to their new two-home family and end up thriving in it.
Studies Show Most Children Adapt Well
A 20-year study conducted by noted psychologist Constance Ahrons and confirmed by others shows that about 80 percent of children of divorce are able to adapt to the divorce and lead happy, successful lives afterward. The majority of children whose parents get divorced do not experience permanent negative effects on their grades, social development, or mental health.
Developmental psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington from the University of Virginia came to similar conclusions through a study of 2,500 children of divorce. Other researchers consistently find similar results when they study how divorce affects children: in the long run, the majority of children of divorce see no lasting negative effects from the divorce.
Children Need Support, But Not Necessarily from Married Parents
This is certainly good news for any parent who has worried about how their separation or divorce will affect their children. A meta-study by child development expert and Cambridge University professor Michael Lamb clarifies what he believes children really need to be well-adjusted. In his study, Mothers, Fathers, Families, and Circumstances: Factors Affecting Children's Adjustment, he explains that in order to be supported, children need:
- A close relationship with both parents, but this relationship can occur in the same house or separate houses;
- Stability and consistency from both parents regarding discipline;
- Emotional responsiveness from each parent;
- Adequate resources and safe housing; and
- Social support.
In short, an intact nuclear family is not necessarily required for a child to be happy and healthy.
Considering Divorce? Let Us Help
Although no one gets married with the intention to get divorced, ending a marriage does not mean that the couple or their children will never be happy again. In fact, many families find that they are healthier and more contented after a divorce than before it.
If you are a parent considering divorce and are concerned about how the divorce will affect your family, you do not have to face these worries alone. Contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., and get the help you need. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation at our St. Charles office today.