We all know that a divorce has an unhealthy impact on kids; no matter how parents try to shield their children from the unhappiness of it all (just watch season 4 of The Sopranos). Even if adults try to form a cordial and healthy relationship post divorce for the sake of the children, it can take a while for the young minds to adjust to the breakup. Some of them are left with life-long scars.
The consensus so far has been that a divorce affects everyone (all the kids that is) the same way. But a recent study shows that there is much that we still don’t know about how a child reacts to the news of his family being broken up. According to the study, there are huge differences in the way children from wealthy and lower income families deal with divorce.
Higher-income families most affected
The report that was published on the Time’s website concludes that children of higher-income families show greater behavioral issues, as compared to those who resonate from lower-income backgrounds. The most likely group that seems to be affected the worst is that of children aged 3-5 years of age. Those in the 6 -12 age group hardly showed any impact. Custody-based research also shows that more often than not, children get better at handling an equal and shared parenting arrangement as they age or if they are assimilated into step-families. This works best for those families who do not have any potential issues left unsolved at the time of divorce.
The possible explanations for the study’s findings are speculative. The report does not give any solid justifications or explanations as to why kids from a certain section of the society behave the way they do post their parents’ divorce, but it does offer some anecdotal evidence.
For instance, in the case of wealthy kids, it is seen that after the divorce the main breadwinner of the family moves out and this leads to a dip in the family’s income. The children may have to move to a new neighborhood or a new school in order to adjust to the lower household budget and this, along with the sadness of seeing their parents apart, can breed a feeling of instability in the children.
Another possible explanation is that children from less wealthy families are a little more resilient and do not take their parents; break up as hard as their wealthier counterparts. The report concludes that though income differences alone could not be the cause for the children’s behavior, it stops short of offering any definitive answers.
Keeping your child safe
The results of the report may not be definitive yet, but it is another proof of the fact that the way you handle your divorce can have a lifelong impact on your children. It is very important therefore that you work with your former spouse and your divorce attorneys to determine the best course of action which will keep your child away from harm’s way. And while many parents do not agree with therapy, the report shows that younger children may need some extra attention in order to deal with and get over the pain of seeing their parents split apart. Or they just need to make their Little League All Star team.