Sometimes a marriage, despite all the efforts of the partners, can no longer last and divorce is inevitable. The biggest of all concerns during this time is the effects of divorce on children and how they will cope with the separation of their parents.
Partners face many challenges during divorce, including resolving guardianship, organizing a new life, caring about how kids cope with it all, and the like. The psychological effects of divorce can affect children differently. Babies and younger little ones generally tolerate these changes more easily than older children. The nature of the child and his maturity and circumstances influence how he will cope with the new situation.
Typically a child’s first reactions to divorce are shock, sadness, frustration, anger, and worry. But in the longer run, a child can gain greater abilities to cope with this new stress in life. When they grow up, many of them become more flexible, stable, and tolerant individuals.
Here Are the Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children
Short-Term Behavior Problems
Although the effects of divorce on children vary depending on each situation, there are some common reactions that many children have. Anger and aggression towards peers, sisters, brothers, and others in a group is common. Children experience hostility towards their parents, which is often directed at the parent who is considered guilty. Usually, it will be the one who insisted on ending the marriage.
Self-centered hostility can also look like depression, which is common. It can manifest in different ways: lack of sleep, inability to eat, self-harm (this is typical for adolescents, etc.).
When young and small, children can regress in behavior to a lower stage of development, especially in speech. They may also start urinating again in bed, or on the floor, etc.
In an attempt to survive a hostile environment with divorced couples or those in the process of divorce, a child may take the side of one parent. A child may refuse to talk to the other parent (even over the phone as in most cases with younglings) or by refusing to share their time with the other parent.
Long-Term Behavior Problems
Due to divorce, kids sometimes lose daily contact with one of their parents. As the child spends less and less time with the parent, the parent-child relationship begins to suffer. Also, they begin to lose intimacy. Surveys have shown that children usually move away from their fathers after divorce.
Due to the excessive stress that the challenges of single parenthood bring, a parent may struggle to figure out how to help their children cope with the stress of divorce.
Along with divorce comes change. It can be a change of school, separation from close friends, loss of contact with favorite grandparents, moving to another city, or anything in between. If the marriage was an abusive one, you must also focus your attention on how to protect your child from child abuse after divorce.
One of the effects of divorce on children is also financial. When a divorce occurs, they often move to smaller homes, and due to new circumstances, they are deprived of many everyday things and necessities to which they are accustomed. It can be stressful for them.
Anger is an intense emotion that is most often experienced by teenagers. Children may blame one of the parents and wish not to communicate with him/her. Their academic performance may also suffer.
How to Mitigate the Negative Effects of Divorce on Children
Disputing couples need to be aware that it is necessary to take care of their emotional state in order to care their kids. Feelings such as fear, loneliness, betrayal, guilt, anger, or resentment can hinder us.
Sometimes seeking professional support to overcome these feelings is a great option. Kids need parental support, love, attention, and a sense of security during a divorce. The child’s experience of having support and being loved will help him cope with anxiety and fear and will help him feel safe.
It is important to continue to maintain contact with all members of the extended family with whom the child has maintained relationships with (grandparents, aunts, etc.). They provide the child with additional support and love.
Even though divorce is difficult for both children and the whole family, staying together just for the children is not the solution. Kids who live in a home of where parents constantly quarrel, express hostile feelings, and have an unpleasant atmosphere are also at risk of developing behavioral disorders and unhealthy relationships.
Every big life change is difficult, but know that both you and your kids will adapt to this change. Finding inner strength and gaining new skills to manage the problem is hard work, but it can do a lot to help get through difficult times.
A blogger and expert in education, Terri Lawrence regularly publishes in initial journals and other relevant media. She is a renowned expert in marriage-related topics. You can get qualified essays on child development she wrote to discover a lot more.