Society: Divorce affects children’s physical and mental health

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CompanyDivorce affects children’s physical and mental health

A study suggests that children of divorced parents who are separated from one parent have more health and psychological problems in adolescence than those of parents who stay together for a long time.

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“The worst thing parents can do is transfer marital conflict to their children and deprive them of one of their parents,” explains Jorge Guerra González in “SonntagsZeitung”. A lawyer and psychologist at the University of Lüneburg Lupana, he is a practical observer, especially with separated families, and is the author of a recent study: How are children separated from their parents?

Protect the child from arguments

The full survey will be published this autumn, but the Zurich newspaper has the first results. Specifically, the problem is not the separation itself, but the way each parent manages it and how they interact with the children and their ex-spouse. If parents keep children away from their arguments, anger and feelings of resentment, the effects of separation will be minimal. These effects are more pronounced if children are involved in parental conflict and the bond with one parent is affected.

The author questioned three different groups: one was composed of adults who had separated from one of their parents in childhood, the second did not experience such a separation in childhood, and the third consisted of participants whose parents lived together. Their majority.

Frequent consequences of parental conflict

However, conflicts often occur. And according to the study, some children who are separated from one parent do not report consequences. For example, they struggle to deal with arguments or hesitate to get married or start a family. “Similarly, none of the children separated from one of the parents interviewed today had good relationships with their mother and father,” the study’s author underlines. Finally, the financial situation of these children is also often low.

The Myth of a Happy Divorce

“A divorce or separation is a traumatic event for many children”, explains “SonntagsZeitung” Christoph Hefeli, lawyer and child protection expert. According to him, children may act temporarily with reduced school performance or behavior problems.

“However, after three to six years, the situation will improve if the mother and father continue to take responsibility for their children’s well-being and be there for them,” notes the lawyer. For example, it calls for parental support during separation with mediation or counseling, as does the province of Basel: it offers six to eight counseling sessions where parents can participate in “Kinder im Blick” courses. (Attentive children). Two actions that led to reduction of parental conflicts.

Listening to the child’s needs

Sociologist Muriel Tegan studies the evolution of families living in different places and works in the Department of Education of the canton of Zurich. For her, co-parenting after a breakup is a challenge, especially when children from a first marriage add new partners or half-siblings. He therefore believes that there is no one solution for protection and coexistence that fits all the children involved: “Housing and custody arrangements must be identified and negotiated.”

Effective temporary limited contact

He adds that in particularly difficult circumstances, it is entirely possible to have limited contact with one of the parents for a period of time in order to free the child. In any case, it is important to involve children and listen to their needs. According to the sociologist, “Children who are confident that they can cope with difficult situations on their own and who see their parents as capable of constructively mastering relationships and everyday life, have good reasons to approach life with confidence.”

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