California parents who are going through a divorce will likely have a variety of concerns. One important one, of course, is often what the effect will be on their young children.
How traumatizing is divorce on children
Many kids will face a myriad of emotions when their parents decide to divorce. That doesn’t mean they will be traumatized by them. Children whose parents are aware of these emotions and help them cope are less likely to be affected in the long run.
Talking openly about divorce and allowing your children to express their own feelings can help them learn to cope. Other ways to help your children adjust include:
- Never bad-mouthing the other parent
- Never putting the child in the middle of disputes
- Always listen and be patient with the child
Will the children prefer one parent over the other?
It is possible the children may pick sides when parents end their marriage. This can happen if one parent forces the child to “side” with them. This behavior can lead to long-term issues for the child including depression, anxiety or substance abuse issues.
If the other parent is doing this, you can only control your own actions. It is important to take the “high road” and simply be there for your child in this situation.
Who will get custody of the children?
Courts prefer for the children to have time with both parents and in some cases will award joint physical custody. There are some issues that may make a judge choose one parent for primary custody over the other, however, or even grant sole physical custody. These include:
- Physical or emotional abuse
- Child neglect
- Domestic violence
Parents who can cooperate, do not badmouth each other and seek counseling when needed give their children the best chance at coping with the divorce.