herald

Monday 20 August 2018

Divorce can leave children lagging behind classmates

Children of divorced parents often fall behind their classmates in math and social skills and are more likely to suffer anxiety, stress and low self-esteem, according to a new study.

Researcher Hyun Sik Kim, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the study showed that the detrimental effects on the children do not start until after the parents begin divorce proceedings.

"People tend to think that couples go through intense marital conflict before the divorce," Kim said.

"My original prediction was that children of divorce would experience negative impacts before formal divorce processes began. But my study finds that this is not the case."

Kim compared the progress of children whose parents were going through a divorce with youngsters from stable families.

He attributed the developmental setbacks of the children to several factors, including the stress of living with bickering and potentially depressed parents, unstable living arrangements and being forced to divide time between parents.

"Children may also experience some disturbing signs," he said. "Divorcing parents maybe cannot focus on caring about children. They may be prone to argue with children and I think that may influence children's development."

hnews@herald.ie

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