Divorce and Children

Many parents are naturally worried about how their children will fare academically and emotionally following a divorce. Though such concerns are appropriate, it is important to focus on building your own future, while also keeping in mind the best interests of your children in the process. In fact, statistics show that with careful planning and consideration, parents and children can both have a positive outlook following a divorce.

Happy Parents, Happy Child

In many cases, when the parents are happy, the child is happy as well. If both parents are happier as individuals following a divorce, instead of living a life of desperation and misery, the children will notice and be happier as a result. When children have two parents that enjoy life and are not constantly arguing and screaming, children tend to fare better emotionally. Less stress translates into healthier children both emotionally and physically. The relief of household tensions may cause children to fare better, boosting their overall mental health, which in turn will likely improve their overall physical health as well.

Positive Effects on Education

When children lead lives of constant turmoil and chaos in an unhappy household, they tend to do better academically after a divorce. One particular study determined that if children previously experienced any kind of family dysfunction or adversarial conditions within their home, that a divorce will actually help them achieve more academically and raise their grades in school. Understandably, when stress, anxiety, fear, and frustration are removed from a home setting, children feel safe and comfortable, which allows them to thrive in their school setting. However, if the divorce process drags on unendingly and the parties continue to argue and live in constant turmoil, these positive effects are unlikely to be seen.

Consider Children When Dating After Divorce

If you have children, then you may wonder how dating will affect them. It is important to consider all aspects of dating prior to jumping into any relationship following a divorce. You will want to make sure that the process of dating is healthy for both you and your children. When considering dating in the wake of a divorce, you should consider the following factors so that boundaries already established.

  • Reassurance. Take time to visit with your children prior to beginning the dating process. Make sure that they understand that while you will be gone for a period, they will always remain your main priority. In some cases, your children may be jealous that you are leaving and taking time away from them. Make sure to always listen and reassure them, but do not give in to temper tantrums or emotional outbursts. Always handle your children with calmness and understanding.
  • Introductions. You may want to have a plan for how long you will date someone before you introduce them to your children. Relationships end, and while you may have an easy time moving on from a relationship, children can get easily attached. It is important that you only introduce your children to someone who has serious potential to become a long-term partner.
  • Sleepovers. Your home is a zone of safety for your children. In many ways, this area is sacred and private, and a place where your children can truly be themselves. If you allow someone you are dating to sleep over, your children may feel that their territory is being threatened, and they may feel as if their safe space is being invaded. Make sure to carefully consider the consequences of having anyone sleep over at your home.
  • Allow All Feelings. Your children may have strange or unexpected reactions to you dating someone new. In many cases, children simply hope that their parents get back together even if they are divorced. Starting to date new people can bring feelings of anger, fear, frustration, and sadness. In a way, your children are mourning the life that they once had, and the life that they expected to have for the rest of their lives. Give them time to express these emotions and work through them.
  • Honesty. Make sure that you are always honest with your children and with people you are dating. Honesty is the best policy. If you have children, you should always let your date know so that there are no misunderstandings later.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you are considering a divorce, or are in the middle of a divorce, you may be wondering how to create and establish a strong foundation upon which to build the rest of your life, including being a positive role model for your children. If you need expert legal advice regarding your divorce, contact an experienced divorce attorney at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at 704.370.2828 or online today for a consultation.