A recent paper brings positive news for kids of parents whose marriage is on the fritz: Parents can play a meaningful role in preventing their kids from suffering from mental health issues post-divorce. Research has long shown that kids suffer mentally from a divorce, however, the new research review shows that this result may be preventable.
A pair of authors from Portugal reviewed 11 studies published over a 14-year period before drawing their conclusions. They considered only peer-reviewed empirical papers “that aimed to assess the association between coparenting and psychological development or function in children with divorced parents.”
Their findings are not surprising. The authors report that the fact of divorce is not what tends to lead to negative consequences, such as anxiety and depression. Rather, the way joint parenting is approached after a divorce “has a significant impact on children’s mental health.”
Three findings were particularly telling:
- When children were exposed to conflict in co-parenting, they “were more likely to have issues with problems such as attention deficit.”
- “Children’s perception of their parents’ coparenting predicted anxiety and depression” in those children.
- Lower levels of child self-esteem were associated with “coparental hostility and conflict.”
This review suggests that parents can positively impact their children’s mental health reactions to divorce by presenting a positive coparent relationship. In the study review, a positive relationship was associated with better “academic performance and psychosocial wellbeing of children.”
If you want to minimize the effects of your divorce or separation on your kids, it is important to separate the problems in your personal relationship with the other parent from your respective roles as coparents moving forward. From this standpoint, the recent study confirms what many people likely suspected.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger have extensive experience in family law matters and can advise you about many of the consequences of divorce. Contact us today to learn how our attorneys can help you in your case: (415) 293-8314.