Helping Children Cope with Divorce: Risk Factors

One of the biggest concerns people have when they start to consider divorce as an option for addressing serious marital problems is the effect it will have on their children. There has been a lot of research on how children cope with divorce and the effect it has on their life in the short- and long-term. Dr. Robert Hughes, Jr., from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has summarized the research findings this way: "MOST children in divorced families do not need help, but MORE children in [divorced families] than in intact families are likely to need help." There is no way to know exactly how divorce will affect your child specifically, but research has identified six challenges that put children of divorced families at greater risk for emotional and behavioral difficulties. Careful consideration of these critical areas during your child custody negotiations may help you limit the negative impact on your children. These are the six factors (from research by Paul Amato (1993) and Kelly and Emery (2003)) that put children at risk. We will look at each of these in more detail in upcoming blog posts. Loss of parental contact Conflict between parents Economic loss Life stresses Poor parental adjustment Lack of parenting skills Source: Parenting 24/7, "The Effects of Divorce on Children," by Dr. Robert Hughes, Jr.

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