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How High-Conflict Divorce Affects the Child-Parent Relationship

According to one report, nearly 50 percent of children in the United States are likely to witness their parents get a divorce. The report also reveals that half of these children will end up seeing their parent’s second marriage end as well. Additionally, statistics show that one out of every ten children in the United States is likely to go through three or more subsequent parental divorces.

When parents go through a high-conflict divorce, it can have a significant impact on their child’s academic performance, emotional state, health, and even their behavior. Children who have lived through their parents’ difficult divorce are more likely to suffer from the following things:

  • Poor physical and mental health
  • Receive poor grades in school
  • Experience suicidal thoughts and urges

Many people wrongly assume that divorce will only affect the child, but the truth is, it affects the relationship parents have with their children too. With new custody terms and visitation schedules, some children will no longer feel comfortable with the relationship they have with their parents after the divorce. Below, we talk about 3 issues that can arise in the child-parent relationship after a high-conflict divorce. 

#1: Children Can Become Distant From Their Parents

After parents separate, the primary custody of the children generally goes to one parent, although parents who are more cooperative sometimes split custody. When one parent gets to stay close to the children while the other has to live apart from them, the separation can cause the children to become more distant from one or both of the parents, both physically and emotionally.

When people remain out of sight for too long, they slowly start to fade out of our minds. However, this is more complicated when it comes to children of divorced parents. Most of the time, a marriage ends on bitter terms, which is why it is common for one of the parents to move out of town, even if they have a family together. This is just one example of how a parent can grow distant from their child after they divorce from their spouse.

In other cases, the anger of one or both parents might cause a child to distance themselves from their parents. It is not uncommon to see a single parent who has a grudge against their former partner long after the divorce. Often, this type of animosity will translate into the way a parent chooses to raise the child.

#2: Children Can Lose Respect For Their Parents

Bitter divorces can break a child emotionally. As children witness their parents’ arguments escalate into heated conflicts, the children might end up viewing their parents as irresponsible, selfish individuals. Children of high-conflict divorces might also conclude that their parents hate each other more than they love them.

When one parent is no longer around and the children have to see the other parent in a state of sadness, the child can become angry and resentful. Kids who no longer respect their parents will sometime start skipping school and extracurricular functions.

It is important for parents to talk to their children about how the divorce is affecting them and making them feel. Listing to your child’s feelings can help you maintain their respect.

#3: Children Can Lose Respect for Marriage

Children tend to look up to their parents for inspiration and guidance. When a troubled marriage ends in a high-conflict divorce, the children can possibly lose respect for not only their parents but also for the institution of marriage. Divorce usually comes as a shock to the children, and by the time they start to realize what is going on with their parents, half of their childhood years have already passed.

While divorce might help put an end to an unhealthy marriage, to a child, it ends the only marriage that matters to them. When children grow up thinking there is no value in a committed relationship, marriage appears to be a farce.

Children with divorced parents often grow up with the belief that all marriages ultimately end in divorce. This is why so many of them disapprove of the second marriages their parents find themselves in. When children see what divorce does to people from an up-close perspective, they can develop a negative opinion about the entire concept of marriage.

Get Help From a Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Today

At Krusch Law, PLLC our skilled legal team is committed to helping families throughout North Carolina navigate their legal disputes. With over 40 years of experience, we can secure the results you deserve so that you can move on to the next phase of your life.

Call (704) 343-8811 to schedule your appointment with our Charlotte family law attorney.