As anyone would expect, it can be devastating to children when the family breaks up. Depending on the age of the child and the level of support they receive from their parents and other adults, children can either adjust well to divorce or suffer from long-term emotional issues.
Growing up in a divorced family isn't uncommon these days. There are many children living in single-parent households in Georgia. According to Kids Count Data Center, about 901,000 children in Georgia had divorced parents in 2011. While it's unfortunate that divorce is so frequent, there are plenty of resources to guide parents in helping their kids adjust after a divorce.
Immediate and long-term effects of divorce on kids
According to Psychology Today, kids of different age groups react differently to their parents' divorce. Younger kids may blame their parents' split on themselves, and tend to regress to earlier behaviors and lose their independence. Older kids will usually blame their parents, and will turn to their friends and outside sources for comfort. They may lash out for a time and take their feelings out on their loved ones.
If a child has difficulty adjusting to divorce, he or she may develop long-lasting trust issues and have difficulty forming healthy relationships. They may also suffer from fears of conflict, change, loss and failure.
Helping a child deal with divorce
Fortunately, Salon reports that most children eventually adjust to their parents' split and have no long-lasting difficulties as a result. Kids are resilient and can thrive with support and love, even in a single-parent household. The Huffington Post has additional tips to help children move on after their parents' divorce:
- Encourage kids' good relationship with both parents
- Don't talk bad about the other parent in front of the children
- Let kids know their feelings and opinions are valued
- Put their interests and needs first
When one or both parents offer children unconditional love, support and understanding, kids do much better than those whose parents expose them to conflict and fighting even after the divorce.
How an attorney can help
An experienced divorce attorney can help parents come up with a parenting plan designed in the best interests of the children, as well as navigate difficult child custody and support issues. If you're considering a divorce, it's important to contact a divorce attorney right away to know what your options are.