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Are children of divorce more likely to divorce themselves?

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2023 | Divorce |

Children typically look up to their parents as the first adults to show them how to behave and make decisions. Their developing minds absorb their parents’ ways to help them build their own identities.

So, if they are taking after their parents, the common assumption is that they are also predisposed to divorce themselves if their parents did. Research supports this belief, but with specific caveats.

Intergenerational transmission is the association between parental and offspring divorce. This correlation reveals that children have a slightly elevated risk of divorce by exhibiting actions that prevent them from maintaining intimate relationships.

However, studies warn that divorce is not one-dimensional. Exposure to their parents’ divorce may not be the only cause for children to experience broken marriages. There may be other determinants, like their age at marriage, education and income. Further, researchers also claim that the likelihood of divorce may not be due to divorce per se, but how high-conflict families can be.

Using these findings as a guide, parents can deliberately minimize the risk of their children to divorce.

Reducing the risk of intergenerational divorce

As challenging as it is for parents to juggle all their responsibilities during divorce, their priority must always be to help their children understand their families’ shifting dynamics. Parents can do this by:

  • Reinforcing cooperation in co-parenting structures and schedules
  • Expanding their child’s concept of role models to include relatives, friends and school mentors
  • Removing stressors in their child’s environment – home, school or other communities
  • Seeking professional therapeutic assistance or counseling if their child displays disturbing conduct

With these recommendations, parents can reassure their children that divorce is not necessarily a predetermined fate. Instead, they can support them in approaching these confusing times with a hopeful mindset that divorce is a result of combined factors not purely passed on across generations.

Shaping their own relationships

Children can change their families’ narratives and use the learnings of their parents’ failed marriages to carve their marital paths. But if their situations still yield unfavorable outcomes, children of divorce can find comfort in knowing they do not have to endure alone. Their aggressive yet compassionate Michigan legal representative can help shape their post-divorce future.