When deciding if they should get a divorce, parents often worry about the impact that it is going to have on their children. Will changing their lives so dramatically cause them any sort of long-lasting harm or emotional distress?
While it is wise for parents to think about their children and put them first, experts do agree that most kids adjust over time and end up doing very well, even if their parents are not together. They can be happy and healthy in this new living situation.
This is not to say that it's not tough for them, especially at first. It's a significant adjustment, just like it is for their parents. Their routines change. They may have to move. They may worry about when they'll see their parents. They have to get used to a new child custody schedule.
How long should you expect children to have to deal with the emotional downside of divorce? Typically, experts agree that it lasts for about 24 months, or two years. By that point, most children make a rapid recovery and adjust very well. While some kids take longer, they are certainly in the minority.
What parents should take away from this is that their divorce needs to center on the kids. They should strive to figure out a custody schedule that caters to the children's needs. They should try to give them similar routines and keep them involved with the same schools, friends and peer groups. Understanding all of the potential custody options can reduce the short-term impact so that children recover even faster than the average.