Children After Divorce
According to North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the short-term effects of divorce can be dealt with when parents jointly and cooperatively resolve post-divorce conflict and anger. The custodial parent must assure the parenting role, and the noncustodial parent must maintain "a mutually satisfying relationship" with the children. The personality of the child, his or her age and ability to develop coping skills, age and sex - all are factors in resolution of adjustment problems.
Generally, research suggests that children under five "experience the most pain from parental separation, but over time they are better able to adjust than older children. Boys appear to have more short-term difficulties, while girls are more likely to exhibit effects of a divorce over a longer period of time," according to the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas.
Almost all divorcing couples experience "a certain amount of hostility toward each other during their divorce, and that conflict continues for a time following the divorce while the family adjusts to its new structure. But when that conflict continues for years, the negative consequences for children can be profound. The more intense the conflict...the greater the potential for damage to children," according to the Law Institute.
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PARENTING CLASSES -- In some jurisdictions, parenting classes for the parents of minors are now required as a preliminary to divorce. The classes teach parents how to minimize the negative effects of divorce on their children and serve to restate parental responsibilities in the context of divorce. They are not an eleventh-hour attempt at marriage counseling.
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