No matter how you slice it, divorce is hard on children. Children are harmed by a sense of helplessness, lack of predictability, parental conflict, poor parenting and poverty.
It’s important to understand that parental conflict and unpredictability lead to poor parenting and perpetuate feelings of helplessness in children. Likewise, chronic conflict lends itself to protracted and ongoing litigation causing children significant emotional distress.
The good news, however, is that you have the power to approach your divorce in a way that reduces conflict; you can choose to collaborate with each other instead of competing against each other. By exposing children to less conflict, they will suffer less and recover far more easily. It’s interesting to note that children are often better off with divorced parents who get along and put their children’s needs and interests first, than with parents who remain in bad marriages and expose them to chronic parental conflict.
Research conducted in recent years demonstrates that when parents choose cooperation over conflict, the negative effects of divorce on children are less severe than previously thought. In fact, researchers view chronic parental conflict, more than the divorce itself, as the most defining factor influencing how a child adjusts after divorce.