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Advice for navigating a smooth divorce that is easier on the kids

Last year, research suggested that divorce could have lifelong impacts on children, particularly those who were very young during the separation.
January 30, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Every parent wants what is best for his or her children, and the decision to divorce is not one that ever comes easily. With a widely publicized study suggesting last year that divorce can have lasting negative effects on children, parents may be even more worried about taking the steps that they need to. Fortunately, there are several things that parents who are divorcing in Kanawha County, West Virginia, can do to make a divorce easier on themselves and their children.
Understanding effects of divorce
Last year, research suggested that divorce could have lifelong impacts on children, particularly those who were very young during the separation, according to the Huffington Post. The study, which was published in the Social Psychology Bulletin, found that children who were between three and five during a divorce had more insecure relationships with their parents later in life. The nature of these parent-child relationships, in turn, influenced the nature of the other intimate relationships that these children developed, even as adults.
These findings are troubling, but parents whose marriages are essentially over should not take the findings as reason to put off divorcing; research has also suggested that it is better for children if parents separate rather than remaining together in a high-conflict relationship. According to the American Psychological Association, studies show that children who are exposed to ongoing parental conflict have a greater risk of developing social or psychological problems later in their lives.
Of course, divorce can be a process that creates even more conflict than normal while exposing children to additional sources of stress. Parents should be sensitive to the potential effects of divorce on their children and take steps to make the process more bearable for everyone involved.
Advice for a smoother separation
The APA suggests that parents avoid forcing sudden changes on their children or acting inconsistently during and after a divorce. Parents can achieve this by:
- Giving children as much notice as possible before a big change, such as a move to a new home or one parent moving out.
- Trying to limit unnecessary changes following the divorce for at least a few months and as much as a few years.
- Restricting fighting in front of the children to a minimum.
- Talking together, making plans for the upcoming changes and presenting a united front to the kids.
Although divorce is often an incredibly consuming and emotional process, parents who try to make these small changes can make the transition much easier for their children. Parents should also avoid undermining each other, trying to limit contact between the children and the other parent or complaining to the children about issues with custody and child support, since this only serves to increase tension for the family as a whole.
If you are preparing for a divorce and are worried about finding the arrangement that will be right for your children, you should make sure to speak with a family law attorney. An attorney can help you understand the arrangements that are available and ensure that your rights are protected if the divorce does turn contentious.
Article provided by Pritt & Pritt, PLLC
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