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Study: Can children cope with a contentious divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2021 | Divorce |

While getting a divorce is often necessary for many couples in Connecticut, that doesn’t always make the prospect easier. Not only do the two spouses often struggle with the end of the relationship, but their children generally do, as well, regardless of the situation. A recent study showed some concerning findings about kids going through a divorce. It showed that when the parents fight in front of them it can significantly increase their fears of being abandoned. What’s worse is that these fears could have long-term consequences for the mental health of these children.

The study collected data from about 560 interviews with kids aged 9 to 18 that were enrolled in a post-divorce program. The researchers asked kids about the prevalence and severity of arguments between their parents. They also asked whether the kids felt forced to act as a go-between or to choose between their parents and if their parents spoke negatively about one another. The results showed that the higher number of instances of each of these factors correlated with a higher fear of abandonment in the children.

Researchers admit that they expected to find a high degree of mental health concerns in these kids, given their need for participation in the program in the first place. However, what researchers found surprising was that even when the children had otherwise good, loving parents, those fears still came up for the kids who witnessed conflict in their household. They say that parents can easily combat this problem by avoiding arguments in front of their children and not sticking their kids in the middle of the animosity.

No matter the marital status of two parents, children need to know that they are loved and will continue to be cared for by the adults in their lives. Even with these warnings, divorce may be just as good for children as it is for their parents. For those in Connecticut who have concerns, a family law attorney can help parents keep their kids’ needs front and center during any divorce proceedings.