It’s widely accepted in the family law field that children of divorce have to deal with many conflicting emotions and challenging situations. Recent statistics show that more than 40 percent of those ages 18 to 40 have divorced parents, and while the divorce rate has been slowing in recent years, more and more of the population will be impacted by divorce as current children grow to adulthood.

A psychology professor at a community college conducted a study among her students and found that, in general, daughters are more likely to be negatively affected by their parents divorcing than sons. One possible reason for this is that growing up with divorced parents often makes it more difficult for children to experience what a healthy romantic relationship looks like.

Another possible consequence is the tendency to pick romantic partners that are not really suited for a long-term commitment or who are not emotionally healthy. This tendency may stem from the idea that the relationship is doomed anyway. The study also found that daughters of divorced parents may be more likely to settle for a so-so romantic partner or stay in an unhealthy relationship longer because of self-esteem issues from not having a close relationship with their fathers growing up.

The good news here is that there are things divorced parents can do to mitigate or eliminate these negative consequences of divorce altogether. Working hard to keep personal issues out of discussions involving the children and making a point to coparent peacefully are both important. Couples who divorce amicably may have greater success with this, so it’s important to think through how you are handling your divorce and be aware of all of the legal options.

Source: The Herald News, “The impact divorce has on daughters,” Jenna Pelletier, Jan. 31, 2016