A Houston Dad Wonders: “How Will the Divorce Affect My Children?”

According to published data, Texans experienced 77,806 divorces statewide in 2007. Almost 14,000 of those divorces occurred in Houston (Harris County). Most parents are very concerned about how their children will react to the divorce. They want to be sure their children will continue to grow up healthy and happy, whether in one home or two.

Here’s the hard fact: Your children’s healthy adjustment will not happen on its own. Divorce is an intensely stressful time for both the parents and the children. The parents’ attitudes and behavior surrounding the divorce will make a big difference on how their children fare.

Texas Dads and Moms in Houston who enroll in an online parenting class made especially for Texans will learn important ways to assist their children’s healthy adjustment at every age and developmental stage. Also, they will learn the Texas law and resources that are available to all divorced families in this great state.

While the online parenting class explains the details, a child’s response to the divorce generally will depend on these 5 factors:

1. Age

For example, preschoolers often assume they did something to cause the divorce. (Mommy and Daddy are getting divorced because I used my crayons to color on the wall.)

2. Gender

While boys may externalize their suffering (e.g., by fighting) and girls may internalize their distress (e.g., by becoming depressed), how a child comes through the divorce depends more on the quality of the parent-child relationship with both parents, than with the age or gender of the child.

3. Personality and Coping Skills

Even within the same family, children may vary greatly in their strengths and weaknesses and their capacities to cope with change. Each child is a unique individual with his or her own way of looking at and responding to the world.

4. Amount of Conflict Between the Parents

This is a huge factor. The effect of parental fighting on children is so negative, it is the #1 cause of suffering and maladjustment in children of divorce. The lesser the parental conflict, the greater the children’s chances are for a successful adjustment.

5. Amount of Support from Friends and Family

Following a divorce, children do best when surrounded by loving adult family members and friends who can provide emotional warmth and reassurance to the children. Friends and family can teach new activities, act as role models, and let children know they are important and valued.

Take heart: Other Houston, Texas parents have navigated the stormy period of divorce and you can, too. Enroll today in an online parenting course to gain the information you need to assist your children. They need your assistance to come through the divorce in a healthy way.