Does Divorce Affect Boys and Girls Differently?
The short answer is yes, boys and girls generally react to their parents’ divorces in different ways. Like nearly every other question about divorce, though, a more accurate answer is that every case is different, and every child is different, so a parent cannot expect his or her child to react to his or her divorce in a specific way based solely on the child’s gender. Instead, a child’s gender can be used as a guideline to anticipate the way he or she might react to the divorce process and a way to understand why the child feels the way he or she does.
Your Child Is More than His or Her Gender
There are a lot of factors that can play a role in how your child will react to your divorce, such as:
- Your child’s age;
- Your child’s gender;
- The circumstances of the divorce; and
- Your child’s personality.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Child Psychology found no difference between how adolescent boys and adolescent girls react to their parents’ divorces. This could be because in general, divorce has less of an impact on adolescents than it has on younger children.
In younger children, though, there are notable gender differences in how children react to divorce. Boys are more likely than girls to react to their parents’ divorces with anger and aggression. Girls might suppress their feelings and aim to please their parents and other adults around them. Some gender differences can be traced to how boys and girls are often socialized differently, while others are due to the realities that many divorcing families face. One of these realities is that often, mothers have larger shares of parenting time after divorces than fathers, which can foster stronger relationships between mothers and daughters and make it easier for girls to recover from the difficulty of divorce.
Reducing Your Divorce’s Impact on Your Child
You can take steps to lessen your divorce’s impact on your child. A few ways to do this are:
- Maintain a consistent daily routine with your child. You might have to create a new routine because you or your spouse moved out of the family home, but whether you do this or continue the routine you already followed, consistency is key;
- Keep all your conflict away from your child. This could mean waiting until after he or she has gone to bed to speak with your spouse about the divorce or having conflict-prone conversations over the phone or outside the home; and
- Respecting your former spouse’s parenting choices and working together to continue parenting your children, regardless of your feelings toward your former spouse or the divorce.
Work with an Experienced St. Charles Family Lawyer
Learn more about the divorce process and the specific parts of it that will impact your children, like your parenting plan and your child support order, by discussing your case with an experienced Kane County divorce lawyer. Contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. today to set up your initial consultation in our office, during which we can answer any questions you have about what to expect from the divorce process. Call us today 630-584-5550 for assistance.