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Parents' interactions affect children's post-divorce behavior

California parents may be aware that their mental states can transfer to those of their kids. For example, when a parent brings stress home from work and is short-tempered in their familial interactions their children may exhibit similar behaviors in their interactions with others as well. A recent study builds on this phenomenon and suggests that post-divorce parental interactions may affect children's behavior as well.

The study looked at approximately 1,500 families that had gone through divorce. In general, the study found that where parents successfully co-parented their kids and treated each other with respect the kids were better behaved and less prone to outbursts. Conversely, when parents argued and when custodial parents moved in with new partners and spouses children reacted with more deliberate negative behaviors.

Children benefit from stability and consistency, and divorce is a difficult process that takes away both of these elements from a child's life. As they often do not know how to articulate their feelings children react to the changes of divorce with anger, frustration and fear. These feelings can be mitigated, the report suggests, by calm and respectful parents who protect their children from their own angers and frustrations.

While it can be difficult to keep divorces positive, some couples find success in negotiating their own divorces through mediation and collaboration. These alternative divorce processes are not for everyone, but individuals who do use them find that they are more satisfied with their divorce outcomes and less hostile about the process. Parents who plan to divorce may want to begin investigating these alternate divorce paths to litigation to establish respect and cooperation in their relationships with their soon-to-be ex-partners.

Source: WDTV, "Co-parenting and divorce", April 30, 2018

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