By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.
Psychologist, Sebastopol, CA
Divorce is a difficult time for both parents and children. But parents have the power to make this difficult situation either traumatic and damaging for their children or they can ease their children’s adjustment to the separation or divorce.
Research and clinical experience has shown that one of the most important factor affecting children’s responses to divorce is neither the time spent with mom or dad, nor age, nor gender, but the quality of the relationship between the parents during and after the separation period. Research also indicates that while all divorces have some effects on children, effects which can last up to a couple of years, traumatic or vicious divorces can affect children well into their adult lives. Following the guidelines below can minimize the short and long term negative effects of separation and divorce.
Dr. Zur’s Recommendation: Your first obligation to your children is to try to heal or “save” the marriage before you separate or file for divorce. If this fails, divorcing with dignity is your second commitment to your children in order to minimize their hurt and long term pain.