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April 25, 2011
Protecting Children in Divorce
You can make a difference when it comes to insulating your children from the harmful effects of unavoidable divorce. Children of divorce are most affected by ongoing conflict, absent parents, and financial shifts in lifestyle. Moreover, how the child responds to the divorce is modeled by how each parent deals with it. Generally, if the parents are coping well, the children are coping well.
Even though one is angry and needs to “declare the truth” by criticizing their ex, children pay the price due to ongoing conflict between parents. Children and adolescents see themselves as extensions of their parents, and so negative comments directed at a parent impact the child, probably more than it does the other parent. The result may be that the child has difficulty remaining close to either parent. Particularly harmful is creating a situation which kids have to hide information or their feelings. Another way kids are impacted by divorce occurs when a parent “projects” their anxiety or depression onto the kids, assuming that the kids feel the way the parent feels. Or, if a parent is transparent about their anxiety or depression, children and adolescents worry about it. Not giving your children more to worry about when it comes to adult problems is a gift that keeps on giving.