As the marriage breaks down, some parents find themselves asking questions like, “Should we stay with the children together?” Other parents will find divorce the only option.
And while all parents may be very concerned about what they think — the future of their lives and the uncertainty of the care arrangement — they may be worried about how their children will handle the divorce.
So what are the psychological effects of divorce on children? Researchers say it is addictive. While divorce is stressful for all children , some children recover faster than others.
The good news is that parents can take action to reduce the psychological impact of divorce on their children. A few supportive parenting strategies can go a long way in helping children adjust to the changes caused by divorce.
The first year after a divorce is tough
Divorces have risen around the world in recent decades. It is estimated that 48 per cent of American and British children live in divorced single-parent homes at the age of 16.
As you might expect, research has shown that children struggle the most for the first or two years after a divorce. Children are likely to experience anxiety, anger, anxiety, and disbelief. But many children seem to be coming back. They get used to the changes in their daily routines and they make comfortable living arrangements.
However, others never really seem to return to “normal.” This small percentage of children may experience ongoing – possibly even lifelong problems after their parents divorce.
Divorce creates emotional turmoil for the whole family, but for children, the situation can be quite frightening, confusing, and frustrating:
▪ Young children often struggle to understand why they have to go between two homes. They may worry that if their parents may stop loving each other one day, their parents will not be able to love them.
▪ Grade schoolchildren may be concerned that divorce is their fault. They may fear that they are behaving badly or they may expect to be doing something wrong.
▪ Young people can be quite angry about divorce and the changes it causes. They may blame one parent for the dissolution of the marriage, or they may suffer one or both parents from a family upheaval.
Of course, each situation is unique. In extreme circumstances, a child can feel easy with separation – if divorce means fewer claims and less stress.
Stressful events related to marriage
Divorce usually means that children lose daily contact with one parent, often fathers. Decreased contact affects the bond between parents and children, and researchers have found many children to feel closer to their father after a divorce.
Divorce also affects a child’s relationship with a parent-parent — most often mothers. Primary caregivers often report higher stresses associated with single parenthood. Studies show that mothers are often less supportive and weaker after a divorce.
In addition, studies show that their discipline is less consistent and less effective.
For some children, separating parents is not the hardest part. Instead, the stressors associated with them make divorce the most difficult. Switching schools, moving to a new home, and living with a single parent who knows a little better are just a few of the additional difficulties that make divorce more difficult.
Financial difficulties are also common after a divorce. Many families have to move to smaller apartments or relocate and often have fewer material resources.
Resettlement and ongoing changes
In the United States, most adults recur four to five years after a divorce.
This means that many children suffer from constant changes in family dynamics.
Adding a stage parent and possibly multiple step siblings can be another big adjustment. And almost both parents are getting married again, which means many changes for the children. The failure rate of a second marriage is even higher than that of first marriages. So many children experience many differences and differences over the years.
Divorce can increase the risk of mental health problems in children and adolescents. Irrespective of age, gender, and culture, studies show that children of separated parents experience increased psychological problems.
A divorce can trigger an adjustment disorder for children that will get rid of in a few months. But studies have also found depression and anxiety rates are higher in children of divorced parents.
Children from separate families may experience more outsourcing problems, such as behavioral disorders, crime, and impulse activity, than children from families with two parents. In addition to increased behavioral problems, children may also face conflict with peer groups after divorce.
Children from divorced families do not perform as well academically. Studies show that children in divorced family also pass achievement tests. Parental divorce has also been associated with higher conviction rates and higher abortion rates.
A different older young person is more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as substance use and early sexual activity. In the United States, a different parent of a parent drinks alcohol earlier and reports higher levels of alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and drug use than their peers.
Adolescents whose parents divorced when they were 5 years of age or younger were at particular risk of becoming sexually active before the age of 16 years. Separation of older parents has also been associated with a greater number of sexual partners in adolescence.
For a small group of children, the psychological effects of divorce can be long-lasting. Some studies have linked parental divorce to increased mental health problems, substance use issues, and psychiatric hospitals in adulthood.
Many studies suggest that parental divorce could be associated with less successful young adulthood in terms of education, work, and romantic relationships. Adults who experience divorce in childhood tend to be lower on education and vocational qualifications, as well as employment and financial problems.
Adults who experienced a divorce during childhood may also have more relationship difficulties. Divorces are higher for people whose parents have divorced.
Parents play a significant role in children’s adjustment to divorce. Here are some strategies that can reduce psychological paid divorce in children:
▪ Partner calmly. The strong parental conflict has been shown to increase children’s pain. Proud hostility, such as shouting and threatening each other, has been linked to children’s behavioral problems. But small tensions can also increase a child’s pain. If you are fighting a parent with an older spouse, ask for professional help.
▪ Do not put children in the middle. Asking children to choose their parents that they like best or giving them messages to give to other parents is not appropriate. Children who are caught in the middle are more likely to be depressed and anxious.
▪ Keep a healthy relationship with your children. Positive communication, parental warmth, and low levels of conflict can help children adjust better to get rid of it. Healthy parent-child relationships have been shown to help children develop higher self-esteem and better academic performance after divorce.
▪Use consistent discipline. Set age-appropriate rules and follow penalties if necessary . Studies show effective discipline after divorce to reduce crime and improve academic performance.
Follow the young people closely. When parents pay close attention to what teens are doing and who they are spending time with, young people are less likely to have behavioral problems after a divorce. This means less access to subjects and less academic problems.
▪ Boost your children. Children who doubt their ability to deal with change and those who see themselves as helpless victims are more likely to have mental health problems. Teach your child that while it is difficult to handle a divorce, he or she has the spiritual power to handle it.
▪ Teaches special survival rights. Children with active coping strategies, such as problem-solving skills and cognitive reorganization skills, are better able to adapt to divorce. Teach your child how to manage his or her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a healthy way.
▪ Help keep your children safe. Fearing giving up and worrying about the future can cause a lot of anxiety. But helping your children be loved, safe, and secure can reduce the risk of mental health problems.
▪ Participate in a parent training program. There are many programs to reduce the impact of divorce on children. Parents are taught the skills and strategies of older parents to help children cope with regulations.
▪ Find professional help for yourself. Reducing stress levels can be an important tool to help your child. Practice self-care and consider interviewing or other resources to help you adapt to your family’s changes.
Despite the fact that divorce is tough for families, children may not be together for children, which may not be the best option. Children living in homes with a lot of debate, hostility, and dissatisfaction may be at greater risk of developing mental health and behavioral problems.
It is normal for children to struggle with their feelings and behavior immediately after divorce. But if your child’s mood problems or behavioral problems persist, seek professional help. Start by talking to your child’s pediatrician. Discuss your concerns and ask if you need your child’s professional skills. We recommend that you refer to speech therapy or other support services.
Individual treatment can help your children differentiate their feelings. Family care may also be recommended to account for changes in family dynamics. Some communities also provide support groups for children. Support groups help children in certain age groups meet other children who may have similar changes in family structure.
If you would like to discuss how to deal with your divorce, please feel free to contact us.