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Keys to Healthy Children Following Divorce

Good parenting doesn't just happen.

That is the decided conclusion of researchers and the fundamental underpinning of well-adjusted and healthy kids across the board post-divorce.

Researchers at Arizona State University concede at the outset of a recently released study the proven increased risks for children of divorced families regarding mental health issues, social disconnection and problems in school as compared to children of intact families.

While they acknowledge those risks, their study goes beyond to query why upwards of 75 percent of kids with divorced parents do not experience any untoward problems in these areas both in the immediate aftermath of a divorce and long term.

In other words, there is a propensity for a few alarm bells that simply do not ring in most cases.

Why not? Behavioral scientists at the Prevention Research Center conclude in findings that appear in the magazine Development and Psychopathology that well adjusted and behaved kids post-divorce owe their positive mental health to two predominant factors.

First, parents - both mothers and fathers - must proactively work hard to develop warm and nurturing relationships with their children. Not being passive is key. Rather, family members need to make time for each other and identify and actively pursue common activities, which they sustain over time.

Second, that aura of warm safety and shared experiences must be accompanied in equal measure by parental discipline that is applied firmly and consistently. Parents need to fine tune how that works, but getting it right goes far toward how secure and well adjusted children become.

There is no magic elixir involved in any of this, note researchers. If there is a proven recipe, it is simply this: Consistent parental involvement and discipline reasonably applied to bring about mutually agreed expectations.

Related Resource: "Can Parents Prevent Their Children from Having Problems Following Divorce?"

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