Protecting What You Value Most

Does parents’ divorce damage children?

You are aware that your divorce from your spouse will affect your children, and that the effect is likely to be negative. You may wonder if you will do long-term damage to your children with your divorce, and if so, whether it would be better for your children if you and your spouse were to stay together.

According to Psychology Today, the effect of parents’ divorce on children, while negative, tends to temporary. Research shows that what is more likely to cause permanent damage to children is prolonged parental conflict. Therefore, if a divorce ends your conflict with your spouse, it is better for your children in the long run.

However, the divorce process itself can be contentious, which has the potential to harm children. Here are some ideas for avoiding high conflict during your divorce for your children’s sake.

Surround yourself with supportive people

You may not want conflict with your spouse, but family and friends may want to fight on your behalf. Attorneys and other professionals may also want a more adversarial approach than you are comfortable with, perhaps because they stand to benefit from it.

Choose professionals to help you who are supportive of your goal to minimize conflict during the divorce. If family or friends adopt an adversarial attitude, limit the time that you spend with them until after the divorce or do not discuss it with them until it is over.

Avoid face-to-face discussion with your spouse

It can be painful for children to observe or overhear arguments between their parents. There are many things you and your spouse need to discuss during a divorce. However, if face-to-face discussion is likely to prompt an argument, use email to communicate whenever possible. This makes it easier to concentrate on the information and keep emotions in check.