Lisa Dunning, MFT

Lisa Dunning, Marriage & Family Therapist Article - Effects of Divorce on Children

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Lisa Dunning, Marriage & Family Therapist
Parent / Child Relationship Specialist

Effects of Divorce on Children

Author Of Parenting Book
"Good Parents Bad Parenting"

Good Parents
Bad Parenting

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Effects of Divorce on Children

When a couple decides their marriage is over, a tremendous sense of grief and relief are felt. A recently divorced person will feel grief over the loss of their marriage and the loss of their partner in life. But there is also a sense of relief that the pain and anguish is now over and their healing can begin. For couples without children divorce is a far simpler process. They are not continually seeing each other to bring up all those bad feelings over and over again. When children are involved parents must learn their new roles and coexist quickly to minimize the negative effects of divorce on children.

The effects of divorce on children can be very traumatic.

Some children blame themselves for the divorce, believing that they caused their parent's divorce due to their bad behavior or not listening.  Some children just shut down after the divorce and find it very difficult to express their feelings.  Often they look as sad as they feel, withdrawing from friends and activities they once enjoyed.

The effects of divorce on children can harm their future.

The effects of divorce on children can be detrimental to their future relationships.  Children sometimes feel betrayed by their parents, resulting in a mistrust of others.  This inability to trust others hinders their ability to form intimate relationships. 

Parents can minimize the effects of divorce on children

The good news is that the effects of divorce on children can be minimized by their parents.  Parents can reassure their kids that the divorce is not their fault.  It is also important for parents to make their child feel safe by reassuring their child that they are loved by both parents.  It is also important to let your child know that parents do not divorce their children.  Tell your child that you are available to answer any questions they might have about the divorce.  The effects of divorce on children will be less severe if the couple is able to put aside their differences as much as possible and work together to provide a loving, safe and consistent environment in both parents homes.

Any of these articles by Lisa Dunning, Family Therapist may be re-published in hardcopy (magazines, newsletters or newspapers) or electronic format in websites, ezines or electronic newsletters provided the following resource box is included at the end of the article with a link to the URL

Lisa Dunning is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Specializing in Parent/Child Relationship issues, the author of "Good Parents Bad Parenting: How To Parent Together When Your Parenting Styles Are Worlds Apart" and the host of her own radio show, "Life Support". She provides marriage, divorce and parenting phone sessions to clientele across the United States and Canada and provides expert parenting advice to newspaper & magazine columnists.  To learn more about Lisa Dunning visit her website at

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Copyright 2004, Lisa Dunning, MFT.
(Effects of Divorce on Children Article)