Divorce might be the best thing for some adults, but it is very seldom the best for the children. Some kids view divorce as one or the other parent choosing to leave them. Some think they were not good enough for their mother or father. Martin Richards from Centre for Family Research at Cambridge University said that young ones whose mother and father split up do worse at school. Also, they are more likely to cohabitate and have children at younger ages. The recent research by the British Psychological Society indicated that kids who have passed through the parents’ divorce were likely to be weaker emotionally. They might have worse jobs and develop a psychological illness as well. Besides these, there are many other long-lasting effects of divorce on children which show up later on in the adult lives of those who have experienced the divorce of their parents. This article aims to bring education-related issues to notice. Naturally, we decided to split the adverse effects of divorce into four major groups: fundamental academic, psychological, behavioral and drug-related issues.
Here are the major effects of divorce on children.
Group #1: Solely Academic Issues
Usually, kids are struggling the most during the first year after the divorce. Yet, many young people may develop problems later or have lifelong problems as a consequence.
Below is an overview of how divorce affects the academic performance of a child.
- Statistics have revealed that in the middle-class sample, 13% of the children had dropped out of school. 15% of little ones who live with their mothers and have no contact with fathers were booted out of school. Half of them went to college and less than 60% of kids of divorce reach the educational performance of their fathers.
- Behavior in academic institutions. A child who has passed through his parent’s divorce might not communicate with others of his age. He or she tends to isolate from the rest of the class and have cooperating issues. Much more, he will have learning difficulties and feel anxious. The delay of the learning, together with dyslexia will conduct that child to school drop out or held back.
- Absence and lack of engagement. Children and adolescents from intact families and stepfamilies do schoolwork and study with pleasure. On the other side, youngsters with separated parents are less engaged in school. The last ones skip nearly 60% more classes. Also, those who did excellent in studying until divorce have then changed their behavior. Once parents focus more on their relationship with each other and pass the education responsibility from one another, the kid is lost.
Group #2: Long-Term Psychological Effects
Divorce is not easy for both adults and their little ones. It creates an emotional turmoil, a quite scary situation and fear for the future. Kids get frustrated, insecure and confused.
Step by step, the split-up can turn into post-traumatic stress. According to Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and lecturer at Northeastern University, 29% of boys and 39% of girls whose parents divorced had high levels of posttraumatic stress. As most people know, divorce can be accompanied by arguments between parents. With screaming, throwing things, an adult not returning home or sleeping in another room. The psychological effects of posttraumatic stress include the following issues:
- Persistent memories of parents being angry. Youngsters revive the moments when adults were abusing one another. When one or both parents were crying or when they assisted in continuous humiliation.
- Recurrent nightmares of parents leaving home or being abandoned.
- Fear of the future. Such children feel anxious when someone is screaming around them; they are also scared that something terrible might happen.
- Physical pains, such as headaches, stomachaches, reduction of the immune system, chronic illness.
- Feeling unhappy. A very accentuated decrease in activities that they once loved. The feeling that nothing can bring them joy.
Group #3: Behavioral Consequences
According to Mental Help research, children dealing with parental divorce lose a sense of trust and kindness in their relationships. Some of them are spending their time playing alone or endlessly staring at a computer screen. Some are afraid to make new friends and hardly communicate with the others around them.
Here are some of the most common behavior deficiencies:
- Lack of confidence. Some youngsters lack outreach skills. They are afraid that their peers won’t like them. Others would do anything to feel that friends and groups from school like them. Some are becoming jealous and threatened if their friends pay attention to other kids.
- Young people want to pretend they are mature, but emotionally they are still a sad child. Psychologists say they are wearing masks so they don’t look vulnerable. In fact, these kids are emotionally very needy, they are hurting inside, although it doesn’t seem so.
- As future adults, these boys and girls tend to have impaired relationships. As Fiona Tasker said in her research, on Divorce and the next generation, teenagers from divorced backgrounds are likely to say they don’t want to marry. They believe more in cohabitation as an alternative. The anti-marriage attitude is a behavioral dysfunction to consider.
- Most of the children tend to align with one of the parents. They get subtle and wait for rewards and spoilings from the adult they align with. Unfortunately, the parents are most of the times feeding them information about this evil perception.
Group #4: Drug- & Substance Abuse
Some youngsters want to bring attention to them. But still, they don’t have the courage and the ability to stand up for themselves. Sadly, some of them start using drugs, as a “treatment” for their sadness. They find relief from their pain while using drugs. The addiction is stronger as they don’t find happiness and peace at home.
Essential Steps to Help Kids Bounce Back in Time
There are a few, minimal actions parents can take to ‘save’ children who suffered from their divorce. Counseling and communication are the keys. The parents have the most crucial role here.
They need to:
- Stop fighting and come up with a parenting plan that allows both parents time with the child.
- Agree to meet with their ex once in a while for the little one’s best. No argues, no fightings, but cooperation.
- Invoke co-parenting counseling, as well as therapy, even if the little one seems to be emotionally healthy.
- Talk to their son or daughter and ask to describe their feelings. With no anger, but honesty.
- Take kids’ demands, feelings or opinion to heart; have patience with building a new relationship.
- Never pass the fault for all that happened to the other parent.
- Empower the child.
- Help him/ her feel safe and secure.
It’s perfectly normal for the kids to meet struggles immediately after parental separation. It’s hard to deal with such a painful situation as an adult, but especially as an innocent child. There are many different effects of divorce on children – but there are also ways to combat these effects. More than professional help, it’s about family therapy. There is no better cure than the love of family, although they are not together anymore.
Elizabeth Price is a freelance writer interested in education, marketing, and business-related topics. A former Psychology student of Montclair State University, she is still an active learner eager to research almost any topic. Elizabeth works as an expert essay writer in Canada. She is a contributor to such platforms as NativeAdvirtisingInstitute,