Divorce is hard on children, but understanding parents can help

It can be difficult for couples in Kentucky who are going through a divorce, but for children, it's almost always devastating. Children usually don't have a choice in the matter, and it's confusing and even frightening for them to see their parents fight and then move into separate households. The confusion is even further compounded when children are then expected to call two houses home.

Understandably, caring parents want to make the transition of a divorce easier and less heartbreaking for their children. Some divorces can't be avoided; in many cases, children will adjust well and even thrive when their parents are not together to fight and cause tension in the house. However, the way that both parents act and treat each other after a divorce can have a long-term effect on children's development and well-being, even into adulthood, says Web MD.

How divorce affects children

For example, younger children will often blame themselves for their parents' divorce. They may become more independent on their parents and other adults, and can even regress in some behaviors, such as bed-wetting or being too afraid to go to sleep alone. On the other hand, older children may act out and show anger toward their parents' split. They can become more reliant on their friends for support than on their parents. Some develop difficulties in school and social settings. Others show a tendency to understand and even support their parents' divorce, despite the pain.

No matter a child's age at the time of the divorce, the way parents handle it can make a difference between the child growing up to develop healthy adult relationships or struggling for years. Kids Health has provided the following tips to help parents and children navigate the first few weeks and months of a divorce:

  • Don't speak badly of the other parent in front of the children.
  • Don't use the child as a go-between or as a way to find out what the other parent is doing.
  • Develop consistent rules, routines and structure during parenting time.
  • Involve the other parent in activities and events, and encourage children to keep in contact on non-custodial days.
  • Don't confide in children about confusing or upsetting adult concerns, such as child support or custody disputes.

It's also important for parents to watch how their children are doing at school, at home and with friends, so they can understand if a child if having difficulty coping and may need help from a therapist. According to HelpGuide, treating not only the other parent, but children as well, with respect and empathy can help everyone in the family to adjust and heal.

How an attorney can help

Even if your divorce is amicable, you may need the help from an experienced family law attorney to sort out issues related to child custody, support and property division. Speaking with an attorney can help your family move on with life.