Almost 50% Of American Children Have Damaging Experiences – What Can We Do?

According to research recently published by Child Trends researchers, around half of all children in the United States will have at least one childhood experience that may lead to future issues. The effects of these adverse childhood experiences, as detailed in The Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences, Nationally, by State, and by Race or Ethnicity” can, as the report’s name suggests, vary depending on the child’s circumstances. While you may not be able to prevent any of these experiences from occurring in your children’s lives, you can make sure that you handle them carefully. Perhaps one of the most common potentially damaging events is divorce and, by working with an esteemed Salt Lake City divorce attorney, you can help manage the impact on your family.

What Are Adverse Childhood Experiences?

In reality, there are countless events and experiences that may adversely affect a child but, in terms of this research, the experiences are:

  • Economic hardship, where the family finds it difficult to cover basics such as food or housing
  • Divorcing or separating parents
  • Death of a parent
  • Parent receiving a prison sentence
  • Domestic violence, whether experiencing or witnessed by the child
  • Experiencing or witnessing violence outside of the home
  • Living with an adult with a mental illness
  • Living with an adult who abuses drugs, alcohol, or other substances

When children experience these, it can have an impact on their ability to build healthy personal relationships, manage their emotions, pay attention, or demonstrate self-control, all of which are essential life skills.

The state you bring your children up in, and your racial or ethnic background may also contribute to the likelihood of an adverse childhood experience occurring, with some of the statistics outlined in the report including the following:

  • 61% of black children experience one ACE, compared to 23% of white children.
  • 10% of children have experienced three or more of these events
  • Arkansas has the highest percentage of children who have had an ACE (56%)
  • Utah’s proportion of children living with a mentally ill parent sits at 12%, higher than the national average of 8%, whereas the state has a lower than average rate of parental divorce
  • Overall, Utah children’s ACE levels match the national average, with around 40% experiencing at least one

How to Make a Divorce Easier on Your Children

There is no point sugarcoating the fact that divorce is never easy, for either adults or children. However, how you behave, and how you and your estranged spouse handle the divorce can greatly influence the effect it has on your children. One of the benefits of working with an experienced Salt Lake City divorce attorney is being able to access expert advice on how to keep trauma and stress to a minimum. If you can manage it, a collaborative divorce can be a good option, for example.

When you are facing a divorce, it is important to remember the benefits for your children, as well as the potential adverse effects. For example, a divorce may provide your children with:

  • A happier home environment
  • Better communication skills
  • Improved wellbeing
  • Closer relationships with each parent

To discuss your Salt Lake City divorce with an esteemed attorney, call us today at (801) 901-8159.

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