How divorce affects children

In the United States, there is one divorce approximately every 36 seconds. That’s nearly 2,400 divorces per day. Fifty percent of all North-American children will witness the divorce of their parents and almost half of them will also see the breakup of a parent’s second marriage.

Many unhappy couples are concerned that divorce will have a negative impact on their children. But, research shows divorce may not be as detrimental to a child’s development as we think.

A study by Tamara Afifi, a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara, uncovered some of the most compelling research discoveries of the past four decades regarding children and divorce. According to her findings, the true damage to children is caused by parental conflict more so than by divorce itself. Children who are exposed to a lot of conflict and turbulence within their parents’ marriage, which creates a toxic home environment, show a far higher rate of long-term negative effects than children whose parents are divorced but continue working together in a positive way to create a loving, supportive environment. The bottom line is that parents who fight in an unhealthy way impact the children whether they stay married or not. Whether you decide to get divorced or stay married, a toxic environment rife with conflict will ultimately impact your children negatively. And that is definitely something to consider when it comes to making your decision on whether to stay together “for the sake of the children”.