You Can Raise Healthy, Happy Children in a Divided Household
Often, the number one fear of parents contemplating or currently going through a divorce is that it will negatively affect the children. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet cure for the pain caused by ending a marriage. Getting a divorce is complicated and messy, but this upheaval does not last forever. There are steps you can take to lessen the burden on your children and help them to not only navigate this new family structure but to thrive in it.
Staying Together May Be Doing More Harm Than Good
Some couples consider divorce completely out of the question and commit to “staying together for the kids” even if they are obviously miserable together. Such couples believe that the children living with both parents at the same time is better for them than a shared custody arrangement. Research has shown, however, that children who live in a home with fighting, arguing, and tension are deeply hurt by this.
A study from the University College London used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans to study how children’s brains respond to images of angry faces. Children with documented domestic violence at home showed increased activation in two brain regions associated with threat detection. Scientists have seen a similar pattern of brain activity in soldiers who have returned from combat. Researchers believe that childhood exposure to violence and hostility either overt or subtle leads to an increased risk for mental disorders, especially anxiety.
Children Need Both Parents, But Not Necessarily At the Same Time
Michael E. Lamb, Ph.D. is a professor in the Department of Social and Developmental Psychology at the University of Cambridge. He claims to have identified the circumstances necessary for children to grow up with a sense of security and contentment. He found that children do best in an environment with two loving caregivers but that it is not necessary for those caregivers to be married or even live together. It is important that both guardians establish stability, exercise fair discipline and boundaries, and show love and attention to the child. Lamb and other researchers have shown that it is not marriage which matters most to children but feeling loved and cared for by both parents. Children do not generally feel safe and loved if their home is in turmoil and their parents are too busy bickering to be emotionally available to them.
Work With a Skilled Attorney
If you are considering divorcing your spouse, you do not have to go through it alone. Contact one of our compassionate Kane County family law attorneys today, and get the guidance you need for the rough road ahead. Call 630-232-9700 for a confidential consultation at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates.