You may no longer care for your spouse, but you no doubt worry about how splitting up will affect the welfare of your children. You have probably heard conflicting information on the impact of divorce on children. Will they turn out OK, or will they start exhibiting problematic behavior?
Studies give a general idea of the effects divorce has on children. However, you can get a sense of what the reality will be for your own kids based on the following factors.
Family dynamics pre-divorce
What your family life was like before the divorce will influence how your children will react to the change. If there was lots of fighting, addictive behavior or abuse of any kind, ending the marriage may be a relief to them and lead to positive consequences. However, if the divorce came as a complete surprise, it will be more disruptive to the children. They may struggle with feelings of confusion and betrayal.
Age of children
The age of your children also plays a role. Babies and toddlers have less awareness and understanding. They may experience immediate consequences, such as increased clinginess, but long-term trauma is unlikely. Teens also adjust pretty well, as they have more understanding and independence.
According to Fatherly, those in elementary school face the most challenges because they have years of attachment to the parents and memory of the relationship, but not enough emotional and cognitive development. They tend to internalize the conflict and blame themselves.
Method of divorce
How you choose to divorce can mitigate some of the harm of the event. Litigation is the most contentious, most stressful and longest method. If possible, choosing a more cooperative approach will benefit your children. Mediation and collaboration save you time and money and put you more in control of the outcome. They encourage communication and focus on the children's best interest.