January has been tagged as 'Divorce Month' in the United States and the United Kingdom, given the unusually high volume of calls to family attorneys inquiring into divorce proceedings after the holidays. Interestingly, both the United States and the United Kingdom experience a surge in divorce inquiries after the holidays as reported by The Huffington Post, The Guardian, and The Independent. It is suggested that the stressors of the holiday season, such as expenses, family get-togethers, and decision making struggles, increase the pressure on couples. The strain lends itself to moving toward a path of divorce once the holidays are over.
The divorce statistics remain high, with approximately over 40% of marriages ending in divorce in both the U.S. and the U.K. Although divorce may be the appropriate choice for many couples, it is important for parents to continue to pay close attention to their children in this complicated process.
Children are resilient, and the research suggests that most children farewell after a divorce—if the divorce is done well and the children are protected during and after. Hence, it is important to remind ourselves of the impact of divorce on children, and recommend best ways to protect children through a divorce.
Approximately 1.5 million children are affected by divorce each year (Scientific American, 2013). Research has demonstrated that divorce can contribute to significant consequences in children, including anger, depression, anxiety, school and social difficulties, and even changes in long-term attitudes towards marriage and divorce. Simultaneously, research also suggests that many children cope, adapt, and farewell after a divorce (Scientific American, 2013).
Although, there are many ways to share, process, and help your children through the divorce, here are some typical guidelines that could greatly benefit your children:
Cooperative co-parenting sends a powerful message to the young child that despite the massive changes in their world, their lives will remain stable, and they will be well taken care of. Cooperative co-parenting also sends a strong and effective message that the child does not have to choose between one parent over the other ever.
Although January is a month of high volume calls to divorce attorneys, I hope these recommendations motivate parents to continue to be the best parents they can be.