Children of divorce go through many different emotional issues before, during, and after the divorce process. A divorce can have many different effects on a child’s emotional, mental, and physical health.
It changes a child’s entire life and future, making it difficult for them to handle their emotions as they go through this major life change.
Children of Divorce React Differently Based on Their Age
Divorce can happen anytime. It can happen when a child is a baby, a toddler or a teen. When children are under 9 years old, they are likely to feel as if they are to blame for their parents’ divorce. Because they only have little understanding of certain life situations, they tend to focus on themselves. They feel like it is their fault that their parents are splitting up. They think their mistakes are the cause of the separation – perhaps because they are not doing well in school, are not eating their vegetables, or any other reason.
Divorce can make children become more dependent. This is because they are young and still need extreme love, care and attention from their parents. Children of divorce may try to get their parents attention by being needy. Some may go back to wetting the bed, while others may begin acting out.
On the other hand, children above 9 years old react to a divorce in a different way. While young children try to get their parents’ attention, adolescents try to get back at their parents. Though they tend to behave more independently, they react to divorce more aggressively. They blame their parents for not working their relationship out. They feel betrayed because they saw how happy and in love their parents were in past years and suddenly, they are going their separate ways.
This is why most adolescents with divorced parents become rebellious. Like younger kids, adolescent children of divorce also want the attention of their parents – but they try to achieve this by doing things that will trigger their parents’ emotions.
Psychological, Emotional, Physical and Behavioral Impact of Divorce on Children
The impact of divorce on children can be short-lived or long-lasting. Regardless of their age, they experience a lot of unpleasant things that other children don’t have to go through. For one, children of divorce suffer from an emotional roller coaster that is extremely hard to manage or control. They experience anger, disbelief, anxiety, and depression. Their new life with only one parent can also be stressful, particularly if they move to a new home and switch to a different school.
This can cause mental problems, behavior problems and may even affect their academic performance. Children who live with a stepparent may suffer more as it can be difficult for them to accept a new relationship.
Children of divorce may suffer from various health problems that can have a long-lasting impact. Young children are susceptible to physical injuries, headaches, asthma attacks, and speech defects. These are all caused by shock, stress, and depression that they experience because of their parents’ divorce.
How Children Can Recover from Their Parents’ Divorce
Recovering from a divorce is not easy for children, but it can happen gradually through parents’ support and guidance. A child’s healing and recovery also depend on their age. Toddlers will need consistency when it comes to their daily tasks and activities. Parents should give them enough love and attention so they know they are still loved and adored.
Pre-schoolers or children aged between 5 and 12 may already understand the concept of divorce. This is why it is important for parents to help them understand that the divorce is not their fault and they are still going to be there for their children, regardless of the situation.
Older children or teenagers can become more aggressive or unattached to their parents after a divorce, so it is best for parents to spend more time with them. They may not open up easily, but parents should still ask how they feel and how they are doing to show they care about them. They may feel burdened or responsible for their siblings so parents should not treat them as a junior parent or try to get emotional support from them.
There are many ways for children of divorce to recover from this life-changing event. There are also various therapies that they can utilize during the recovery process. Children’s speech therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and counseling are among the options for children’s healing and overall recovery.
Lilly Myers is a freelance content writer and marketer at Beverly Hills Speech Therapy. Although she shows professional interest in content writing, she is also in love with medicine because of being raised in the family of doctors. Accordingly, Lilly gives preference to writing medical articles. https://beverlyhillsspeechtherapy.com/