household with divorced parents

For Divorcing Couples, Keep It as Civil as Possible: Here’s Why

While the divorce rate in New Mexico is lower than the US average, some of these separations can be bitter. They can be so aggressive they can end up in court battles.

There’s a good reason divorcing couples might have to in Albuquerque. These professionals can significantly reduce the chances of a more painful process. After all, those long-drawn-out fights can affect the children in many ways.

Here are the science-backed effects of parental aggression and divorce on children:

1. Hostility Can Increase Children’s Fear

Divorce is as challenging to the children as it is for the parents. Often, both camps will need the help of counselors, besides attorneys. This is especially if the discussion is already about the kids’ custody. But another factor that can increase fear among children is parental aggression. To be more specific, it’s spillover aggression.

In a 2019 Penn State study, the researchers revealed that parents who are aggressive toward each other might also exhibit the same characteristics to their children. The more kids see the aggression, the stronger the fear becomes. For the study, the researchers gathered over 450 incidents of severe interparental aggression. This referred to physical or mental harm. Of this number, children were present in over 150 incidents. Of this group, 40 involved parental aggression toward children.

2. Traumatized Children Might Have Kids with Behavioral Problems

child and mother hugging infront of lawyer

Many studies revolved around the direct effects of divorce and other hardships on children. A 2018 study by the University of California-Los Angeles expanded it by asking, “What will be the impact on their future children?”

In the research, they learned that the adverse effects of trauma also extend to their kids. Parents who had at least four significant hardships were twice as likely to have children with mental health issues or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These parents can also be more aggressive toward their children or deal with mental health problems too.

3. Severe Stress Can Cause Faster Brain Maturation

The brain needs to mature to help it cope with the changing environment of the children. However, for kids dealing with divorce, especially a bitter one, some areas of their brain can mature faster during adolescence. This was the 2018 finding by the Radboud University Nijmegen researchers after they followed 37 subjects for two decades.

After scanning the brain regions of the participants, they learned that this maturation occurred in the:

  • The prefrontal cortex, which is the seat of decision-making and cognitive behavior
  • Hippocampus, which governs memory and learning
  • Amygdala, which is involved in emotions

The researchers believed that this is a sign of evolutionary biology. The children raised in stressful environments needed to mature quickly to cope. However, these changes also prevent them from being flexible in their current environment, which is their adolescence.

They also learned that while maturation sped up during adolescence, it slowed down once the teens entered adulthood. This part of the study needs further investigation, but for the researchers, they believe it is causal. These teens who are now adults can also develop antisocial traits because of the slow maturation.

Divorce is already a challenging period for everyone. Couples with children, though, might have to consider making it as civil as possible for everyone to reduce its neurological and behavioral effects on children.

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