Presently the divorce rate is increasing at an astounding rate, and close to 50% of children and adolescents are growing up in a single parent environment. Children need their parents in order for them to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally. If the bond between the parent and the child is broken, negative consequences can be a result and can be traumatic for a child.
The games that are played between parents after the divorce can be overcome by the parents, but for the children issues like self-esteem and self-identity can be lost. Parents need to be a part of their children's lives. Divorce affects children in their school environment, their peers' environment, and their family structure. The family structure takes on a new definition, differing greatly from the traditional family structure. Many of the divorces are highly emotional and can draw children into conflict. Conflict weighs greatly on how the family functions as a unit. It is also apparent that children feel they are to blame for the separation. Children will go to great extents in order to gain back their normal family lifestyles.
The sad fact is that when people get divorced the separation between parent and child is inevitable, and how children react to this departure is probably one of the most important facets a parent is faced with. How children react is not seen on a day to day basis, it is seen throughout a lifetime. So, it is important for parents to keep close observations on how their children are coping and adjusting to the divorce.
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Children will be questioning their feelings and it is the job of the parents to help guide their children through troubling times. Despite the fact that the child is living "in a single parent family," it is critical that the child is able to talk to both parents openly. Trust is a key ingredient in establishing a healthy and emotionally sound child. This is truly what co-parenting is all about. Despite the fact that the change in the marriage has occurred, the responsibilities of the parent has basically gone, unchanged. The bond between two people as marriage partners has been broken, but the bond between the two as being parents has not been broken. It is still the responsibility of the parents to be parents.
Is it possible for two people to be good co-parents? Is it beneficial for the parents to not even try co-parenting, for the sake of their children? If co-parenting is not tried, then the children will almost certainly suffer.
Any adult who comes from a divorced family understands what divorce can do to a child. The age of onset can also affect how the child will react. If the separation occurs when the child is still a child, the memories may be forgotten within a given amount of time. If the child has hit the adolescent stage of life, more of the separation will be remembered by the adolescent. Not to say that all is lost for your child if the divorce occurs during the child's adolescent years. If parents work together, your child can ultimately develop emotionally healthy.
Co-parenting does not work for all families out there, but it does reduce the suffering that the child is going through. No matter how harsh the relationship between ex-spouses is, if the two parties work together, the relationship with their children can be a workable one.
The purpose for this section is not to tell you what to legally do with your children. The purpose is to encourage separated parents to develop a workable parenting plan, a plan that is best suited for you as the parent, and a plan that is best for developing a healthy child.
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