We have a tendency to think of divorce as a devastating event – particularly for any children involved but, is that always the case? In this article, we’re exploring the positive effects of divorce on children’s mental health.
The prevailing narrative surrounding divorce often focuses on its negative impact on children’s mental health. However, this article aims to shed light on an alternative perspective – the positive effects of divorce on children’s mental well-being.
While divorce is undoubtedly a challenging experience, it can also bring about transformative opportunities for growth and resilience in children, Making the decision to divorce is always a tough one, with guidance from family lawyers and your support network your main focus should turn to the impact on your children – which may not always be negative.
In this article, we’re looking at the positive effects of divorce on children’s mental health.
Positive Effects of Divorce on Children
In the UK, almost half of all divorcing couples have at least one child under the age of 16 – which can make the whole process a lot more complicated. When contemplating divorce, a lot of couples believe that staying together is better for the child – and many will make a ‘divorce plan’ such as agreeing to separate once the child is at high school.
In reality, a divorce can often be kinder on a child than living with two parents who are unhappy. For a child’s mental health, a divorce can sometimes be an incredible relief. Other positive effects of divorce on children include:
- Lessons in Conflict Resolution
- Both Parents Typically Step Up
- Increased One-On-One Time With Parents
- Children Often Become More Resilient
- Children Become More Empathetic
After the initial upset, they will no longer be living in a household filled with fighting and tense silences; wondering how their parents are going to behave from one day to the next. Because of this, the child is likely to feel more secure and happier in general.
Supporting Your Child Through a Divorce
We tend to think of mental health issues as something that happens to adults, however, studies show that around 10% of children between the ages of 5 and 16 suffer from some kind of mental health problem in the UK.
These problems can lead to some serious issues including falling behind with schoolwork, aggression toward others, alcohol or drug abuse and, sadly, even suicide in some extreme cases.
Whilst there are positive effects of divorce on children, there will be some bumps along the road of course. There are some ways you can support your child through a divorce if things get tough, including:
Have Open Communication
Our instinct is always to protect our children but, by keeping them in the dark, you’re doing the exact opposite. Talk openly and honestly with your child about what is happening as well as answering any questions that they may have. Needless to say, both parents should refrain from criticising the other in front of the child.
The one thing that your child needs to know is that he or she is loved by both parents and will continue to have a relationship with both. Where possible, agree a plan on what will happen with your partner before speaking with your child, knowing that there’s a plan in place will make them feel much less insecure.
Keeping the Status Quo
Following your divorce, there are bound to be some changes, for example, moving to a new house or school or only seeing the absent parent once or twice a week. Because of this, it’s important to keep routines and rules as normal as possible as this will help your child to settle into their new life much more quickly.
Moving on for your child’s mental health…
Most people don’t go into a marriage thinking that it will end in divorce but, sadly, in the UK. around 42% of them do. As upsetting as a divorce can be for adults, it can be devastating for any children involved but, as we’ve discussed in this article, it can in fact be better for their mental health in the long run.
Living in a home filled with tension and arguing is simply not a healthy environment for a child and, in many cases, the moment that they are removed from that environment, their mental health will improve.
The trick for parents is to ensure that the child knows that the divorce is not his or her fault and that they will always have two parents to rely on. Good communication and a lot of support will help your child to adapt to their new life and then to thrive.