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Negative effects of divorce hit young girls hardest

A British study recently revealed that around a quarter of girls whose father is not present in their lives will develop depression in their teenage years if the father left before the girls were five years old. Research has also shown that parental conflict can be linked to low self-esteem in females more than in males. While raising a girl here in Illinois or anywhere to have high self-esteem is difficult under any circumstances today, it can be even more daunting when the girl is a child of divorce.

Another factor that makes raising a girl with high self-esteem even trickier is the fact that self-esteem fluctuates depending on the situation. A young girl's perception of herself may be very positive in areas such as schoolwork while also being very negative in things such as relationships. Daughters of divorced parents are often more likely to suffer a lack of confidence when it comes to interpersonal relationships.

There are ways to combat the negative emotional effects of divorce on a young girl, however. The first strategy involves the ex-spouses maintaining a civil relationship. When the divorced parents can still communicate and interact in a healthy manner, it will give the child a good model to follow. This is where divorce mediation and conflict resolution can be helpful. If the parents can work through their disagreements and amiably come to an agreement on the terms of a divorce, it may help prevent a young girl from witnessing detrimental fights or arguments.

Another strategy that can help keep a young girl's self-esteem high after a divorce involves avoiding cynicism. While a divorce can take an emotional toll on a parent, it's best to try keeping anger or sadness aimed at relationships out of a young girl's life. Also, a daughter's relationship with her father should not be underestimated. A good father can have far-reaching positive effects on a young girl's sense of identity. A close bond between father and daughter gives a young girl a better chance of growing into a self-confident woman.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "How To Raise A Daughter With High Self-Esteem Post-Divorce" Terry Gaspard, Dec. 25, 2013

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