Divorce Affects Children Most When Ending Low-Conflict Marriages

low conflict marriageParents worry about how divorce will affect their children but it’s easy to forget how resilient – and astute – children can be.

At the end of the day, via some tears and tantrums, they are capable of accepting your decision to divorce.

The more children accept divorce, the less divorce affects children. However, their acceptance depends on two things. Firstly, how well you communicate with your children and secondly, whether or not your decision to divorce makes sense in their black-and-white world.

Divorce makes most sense to children and affects them least – when it brings a high-conflict marriage to an end. Even young infants suffer physically and emotionally from conflict at home. Older children will know that something is very wrong and come to understand that you are trying to make things right, as parents do.

Divorce makes least sense and affects children most when it brings a low-conflict marriage to an end.

On the whole, children of low-conflict marriages would rather put up with life the way it is upsetting but not traumatizing – than see their parents divorce. So far as they’re concerned, if they can live with it, why can’t you?

It doesn’t help to try and explain why some relationships last and some fail. As children, they have no experience to help them understand. On top of this, children typically see their parents as the great fixers – the people who make problems go away. Suddenly, you seem unwilling or unable to make things right, even though the solution seems simple just be nice to each other.

As a result, children feel frustrated, betrayed, confused and distrustful a whole package of new and negative emotions, often far worse than anything they’ve felt before.

Sadly, most marriages that end in divorce fall into the low-conflict category.

This doesn’t mean that parents in low-conflict marriages shouldn’t divorce. After all, their happiness counts too! Only that they should be doubly sure that divorce is the only option. And when it is, to appreciate how their divorce affects their children, and do all they can to help them cope.

Posted in: Effects of Divorce on Children

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