Divorce is almost always the most difficult for children. Much information is out there about how divorce impacts kids, even into their adult lives, but not as much is said about the separation period. Keeping in mind that, before a divorce, there is almost always a separation – and sometimes a long one – there is a time period when things are particularly unstable, and the children in the picture can feel like they don’t know where they stand.
In truth, that’s because often the parents don’t quite yet know where they stand during that phase. They might still be debating getting back together or they may be in hostile negotiations with their lawyers. And even though we know divorce is hard on children, at least once the divorce has happened, the “new normal” is more permanent, unlike the constantly-shifting nature of separation.
Studies have found that marriage instability is particularly high among Black couples, with other research showing financial stress plays a big role in leading to marital instability. Given that the Black community is being hit particularly hard during the pandemic, the concern of divorce and separation is high. If your family is currently going through this transition, click through for advice from Dr. Laura Louis, PhD, CEO of Atlanta Couples Therapy, for what parents can do to minimize the damage a separation does to kids.