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Study: Divorce affects children much more than parents realize

Parents who are going through a divorce are often struggling with difficult emotions. There may be feelings of betrayal, anger, jealousy and sadness that any person can experience during and following a divorce. And while many parents may think they are the only ones who are feeling these things, a new study suggests that the children of divorced parents are also dealing with these very same emotions.

Unfortunately, Texas parents may not be aware that their children are suffering through this difficult time as much as they truly are. Adults may think that they are in-tune with how children are coping through this process, but according to the study, many are not. 

The study was conducted by a group in the U.K. who surveyed 1,000 parents and 100 children who have experienced a divorce. The results were surprising because they suggest that children are struggling with a divorce much more than their parents may realize. Many of the kids also reported a lack of communication and dangerous coping behaviors, of which their parents are unaware.

Despite the fact that 77 percent of parents responded that their children were coping well with a divorce, 73 percent of the children stated that they feel the need to hide, ignore or mask their negative feelings about a divorce from their parents. This means that many children are trying to cope with complex emotions on their own because they do not feel comfortable sharing them with a parent.

And in dealing with these negative feelings, about 22 percent of the children have turned to dangerous behaviors such as drinking and purposely hurting themselves. Sadly, 99 percent of the parents were unaware that children were engaged in such destructive behaviors. 

This study highlights a serious disconnect in how parents and children are communicating after a divorce. Parents may think they are shielding children from an unpleasant situation, but too often that can turn into a neglect of that child's experience. There is no doubt that dissolving a marriage can be very difficult on adults, but it is important to remember that children need support, open communication and love more than ever during this time. 

Source: The Huffington Post, "Survey Says Parents Are Unaware Of Divorce's Impact On Kids," Dec. 30, 2013

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