Divorce and Children's' Adjustments

Updated: Dec 6, 2020



There are a number of factors related to children’s divorce adjustments (e.g., see Lansford’s 2015 review), including the child’s age (Karuppaswamy & Myers-Walls, n.d) the level of conflict between coparents (Bing, Nelson, & Wesolowski, 2009; Long et al, 1988), and parenting styles or warmth of parents (Sandler, Miles, Cookston, & Braver, 2008). Children need warmth, nurturing, empathy, consistency, and a range of behaviors from parents that will support the child’s emotional well-being. At the same time, most parents are on their own emotional roller coaster, making it especially challenging to optimize the ways in which they can adhere to the needs of their children during this time (Emery, 2006).

Divorce is, in fact, one of the most stressful and emotionally taxing life events many individuals experience. In addition to needing emotionally healthy parents who can meet children’s needs, children and youth look to their parent’s as role models. As such, the ways in which parents manage their own emotional health will likely impact that of their child’s.

Here are a few strategies for optimizing your own emotional health through the divorce process:



· Bing, N. M., Nelson, W. M III, & Weslowski, K. L. (2009). Comparing the effects of amount of conflict on children’s adjustment following parental divorce. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 50, 159-171. Retrieved http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10502550902717699?scroll=top&needAccess=true&journalCode=wjdr20

· Emery, R. E. (2006). The truth about children and divorce: Dealing with the emotions so you and your children can thrive. Penguin.

· Lansford, J. (2015). Parental divorce and children’s adjustment. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4, 140-152. Retrieved: http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/dmessinger/c_c/rsrcs/rdgs/emot/landsford.PerspectivesonPsychologicalScience-2009-Lansford-140-52.pdf

· Karuppaswamy, N., & Myers-Walls, J. A. (n.d.). Children’s reactions to divorce – ages and stages. Retrieved from https://www.extension.purdue.edu/providerparent/family-child%20relationships/ChildrensReactions.htm

· Sandler, I., Miles, J., Cookston, J., & Braver, S. (2008). Effects of father and mother parenting. Family Court Review, 46, 282-296. Retrieved from https://developmentalpsych.sfsu.edu/sites/default/files/assets/Cookstonpapers/Sandler%2C%20Miles%2C%20Cookston%2C%20%26%20Braver%20%282008%29.pdf






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