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Study shows negative feelings not permanent for kids post divorce

Houston parents considering divorce might be relieved to hear of studies indicating that children recover more quickly from divorce than previously thought. There seems to be a common assumption that kids whose parents ended their marriage are permanently traumatized from the experience, but one study shows that difficult feelings such as anger and shock usually disappear in kids in at most two years.

That isn't to say that much doesn't depend on a good parenting plan and the case-by-case nature of divorce and child custody. But divorced or divorcing parents might take heart in knowing that children are generally resilient and emotionally well, given some time after a divorce.

Any time two parents decide to end their marriage, the decision is bound to cause a range of negative emotions in the kids. Divorce is the best option in many cases, though, and parents who are unhappy together can actually have a more detrimental effect on their children if the parents choose not to divorce.

In fact, some researchers have shown that children who see their parents frequently fighting are less likely to be shocked and confused by divorce than kids whose parents maintained a kind of muted contention. Children whose parents often fight are sometimes relieved that the conflict might diminish if the parents can live separately.

Important in these matters is to keep your children informed, but within reason. The kids need to know that life is or at least will be stable after a divorce. Clear communication about child custody and visitation is the key, but it's also important to keep in mind that young children don't need to know all of the details about the marital split.

In any case, experienced legal advocates are available to help smooth out the process of ending a marriage and establishing a workable child custody arrangement.

Source: Salon, "Does divorce really traumatize children?" Hal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfield, March 19, 2013

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