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What is the impact of divorce on children?

Parents often worry about the impact divorce will have on their children but studies have found that there may be less reason to worry about children with divorced parents.

Studies focusing on how children are affected by their parent's divorce have continued to find that a majority of children of divorce become well-adjusted adults and are able to recover from the short-term impact divorce has on their life.

A study by the University of Virginia found that many children experience anger, shock and anxiety during their parent's divorce. However, these emotional effects are only short-term for a majority of children. Another study by Pennsylvania State University agreed with this finding and added that most children of divorce do not exhibit these behaviors or other negative attitudes in the future.

That study also found that there is not much difference in a child's academic performance, behavior and social relationships when comparing children with divorced parents and children with married parents while growing up.

While most studies pointed to children of divorce being well-adjusted, there was one common finding that portrayed the negative impact divorce can have on children. Studies have found that children, who grow up in a family with parental conflict before and after a divorce, are more likely to suffer and not adjust as well to life after divorce. This is because the conflict can cause anxiety and depression in children as well as make it harder for both parents to communicate and provide emotional support for their children.

On the other hand, research suggests that some children with parents who constantly fight may be relieved after the divorce because the fighting will presumably stop and life can get back to normal.

Divorce can be complicated, especially when children are involved. It is important for parents to consider the impact divorce will have on their kids and what steps they can take to provide a stable, loving home for their children during and after the divorce.

Source: Scientific American, "Is Divorce Bad for Children?" Hal Arkowitz

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