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Divorce and Children

One of the most difficult questions for a struggling couple is of divorce and children: how could this change impact my child? Just as every family is different, divorce will impact children differently in each case. Your children’s age and personality will determine how well they adjust. Most important is how much conflict is present between the mother and father. Children of high-conflict divorces are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, emotional outbursts, and behavior problems than their counterparts. Sadly, even the "best" divorce has lifelong negative consequences for children.

The Longevity Project, a study of over 5,000 individuals from birth to death, has uncovered startling facts about divorce and children. Sadly, these statistics hold true accross personality types and types of divorces.

  • Children with divorced parents have lower overall life expectancy
  • Male children of divorce are more likely to engage in risky behavior and have higher rates of injury and death
  • Children’s overall standard of living decreases after parent's separation
  • Both girls and boys tend to end education earlier if their parents are separated

Perhaps most tragically, since our expectation of what marriage should be is framed by our parents’ relationship, children of divorce have a higher chance of divorcing themselves later in life. It is no wonder that one in two American marriages end in separation today, when today’s adult generation (GenX) is the offspring of an era of when divorce rates doubled. Each instance of divorce and children perpetuates the cycle of broken families.

Divorce is hard on everyone, and divorce and children is the most damaging combination. Sadly, many divorces occur because of marriage problems that could be repaired. Before asking yourself, “Should I get a divorce?” try seeking support from a marriage counselor. Power of Two offers flexible, discreet online relationship counseling that can be done on your own or with your partner. You can sign up for a free 3-day trial and start messaging your coach today.

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Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant 90-FE-0123. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Servies, Administration for Children and Families.