Children & Divorce: Statistics Every Parent Needs To Know
Any significant change or traumatic event can have a lasting impact on a child’s life, and divorce is no exception. But, is a divorce truly as damaging as we’re led to believe? After all, there are certainly circumstances where a divorce is the best option if the alternative is to remain in an unhealthy or abusive marriage. As a parent, it’s natural to be concerned about your child’s wellbeing, and if you’re going through a divorce, you’re concerned about what type of impact this change will have on your children.
To help shed some light on the situation, we’ve gathered some of the most impactful statistics about children and divorce. See below:
- Divorce typically affects younger children.
- About 72% of divorces occur during the first 14 years of marriage.
- Most children of divorce continue to witness parental break-ups.
- Children of divorce may show lower academic performance, self-concept, social relations, and psychological adjustment according to two separate studies conducted in 1997 and 2001.
- Children of divorced parents were 28% more likely to live below the poverty level, according to the U.S. Census Bureau for 2009-2011.
- Divorce may lead to emotional distress and psychiatric disorders. Children who suffer from anxiety and depression may experience worsened symptoms after a divorce.
In short, children of divorced parents are likely to face more obstacles and setbacks than children from unified households. However, by no means does that mean your children are doomed to suffer. You, as a parent, can do several things to help your children through the more difficult aspects of your divorce.
How To Protect Your Children
While these statistics don’t seem encouraging, the important thing to remember is that you have control over how your children face your divorce. There are several ways you can reduce the negative effects of divorce on your kids and statistics that also back up these strategies. These alleviations include maintaining stability (physical, emotional, and financial), protecting children from parental conflict, shared custody when possible, and a strong co-parenting effort. A 2014 study that compiled the results of 40 studies on children and divorce showed that shared physical custody results in “better outcomes on measures of emotional, behavioral, and psychological well-being, as well as better physical health” and better relationships with both parents.
If you prioritize their needs, carve out one-on-one time to focus on their concerns, and make an effort to make the divorce process less combative, you can do wonders to lessen the impact of your divorce on your children.
Discuss the situation with your spouse and find ways to make your upcoming divorce easier on them. For example, you may choose to switch off time in your family home rather than making your children move from place to place. Utilize tools such as mediation to help you and your co-parent maintain control over your custody arrangement. Whatever you deem is best, remember that minimizing conflict and focusing on the needs of your child are the best things you can do to help make the divorce process as painless as possible.
Each family is different, and every child reacts to change in their own way, so it’s important to use your knowledge of your child to make the best judgment call on their behalf. If your child appears to be struggling and you don’t know what to do, family therapy and counseling is a good option.
Need Legal Help? Our Attorneys Are Here For You
Dealing with a divorce, however straightforward or simple it may seem, is never easy, especially when children are involved. Our team at McKinley Irvin understands how deeply concerned parents are for their children during this time, which is why we focus our legal practice on supporting the best interests of your family while meeting your goals. Contact McKinley Irvin today to get started.