Effects of Divorce on Children

LisetteDivorce is never an easy process. It is one, of course, made all the more difficult when the divorcing couple has children—and there are plenty of studies that point to the detrimental effects that divorce can have on kids. In March, the Huffington Post reported on a study conducted by the University of Toronto that found that “children of divorce are more likely to start smoking than those who grow up with married parents.” This especially affected women; women whose parents were divorced while they were growing up are nearly 40 percent more likely to take up smoking than women who were raised in families with married parents. Another study, reported by US News and World Report in March found that “children of religious couples are much more likely to leave the religion if their parents get divorced.” This study, while demonstrating that children with religious parents are less likely to remain religious after their parents’ split, did not find a link between the loss or presence of religion in kids whose parents were not already religious.

Yet there are some studies that demonstrate that staying in an unhealthy or unhappy marriage could be more detrimental to children than divorce. According to Psychology Today magazine, Dr. Robert Emery, in his book The Truth About Children and Divorce, writes, “that in cases where the parents do argue often, divorce can actually be a relief to the children because they no longer have to live with all the tension they had experienced.”

From this perspective, you could be doing your children a favor if you divorce if the fighting between you and your (soon-to-be-ex) spouse is reaching a breaking point. According to a different Psychology Today article, there are several things to you can do to help your children handle the divorce. One of the most important is, despite an inability to put aside differences for other reasons, to present a unified front to your kids and to not pit the other parent against the children. According to Psychology Today, it’s important to remember to “make a point of telling your child a few good things about the other parent,” and “get on the same page… about all rules concerning the children.”

If you or someone you know is considering divorce, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois family law attorney today.

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