Divorce And How It Affects A Child

To a child, divorce can seem like the death of a parent.

If you are going through a divorce, have gone through a divorce or know of someone who has, you must know that divorce is a devastating and traumatic thing to endure. It is already difficult and painful for the husband and the wife, but divorce hurts more than just two people. Divorce is equally painful and traumatic for the children.

There is much controversy about how divorce affects children. Many studies show that, to a child, divorce is equivalent to the pain of the death of the parent. There is a great loss, with grief and sadness, and confusion for the children. Children most always believe that they are the cause of the divorce. They think that the parent who left, actually left them or left because of them and that the parent doesn't love them anymore. Often the parents are so consumed in their own grief or turmoil that they fail to see the devastating effects of the breakup on the children.

Divorce affects children adversely in many ways. Children of divorce have more difficulty in school, more behavior problems, they often have low self esteem and think they are worthless and bad, more problems with peers and more trouble getting along with their parents.

The family unit is a vital part of the stability of young children. Mothers and fathers are important resources for their children. They give love, provide emotional support and teach their children skills and knowledge about life, as well as serve as role models.

The break up of the family unit through divorce can be a heart wrenching experience for children. Divorce can adversely affect a child, from their behavior, school, employment, relationships, and future marriage.

Studies regarding teenage and adult females, parental divorce has been associated with lower self esteem, promiscuity and greater delinquent behaviors, as well as, difficulty maintaining long-term relationships. Girls experience the emotional loss of the father directly and personally. They believe it is a direct rejection of them. Many girls attribute this rejection to not being pretty enough, affectionate enough, athletic enough, smart enough, etc.

On a long-term study of up to 25 years later, it was shown that when the parents first got divorced, the children reported feeling lonely, ashamed, or terrified of abandonment. In teens, half of the children became involved in alcohol and drugs. In their twenties and thirties, the women in the study had less education, decreased socio-economic status and difficulty with long-term relationships.

But caregivers can be alert for signs that the child is upset or depressed. Children will question things like:

"What did I do wrong?"

"What will happen to me if they both leave?"

"Was it my fault?"

Children react differently yet similarly in divorce. Some will be extremely sad and show signs of depression and even sleeplessness. Anxiety levels peak as they feel they are going to be abandoned. They experience feelings of loneliness due to the loss of the other parent. Different children go through it at different levels and different times.

How bad or how well children go through the divorce depends on how the situation is handled. It can throw the child's entire life into a whirlwind. There will more than likely be financial instabilities due to loss in income of the absent parent. There may be a change in residence or schools. Also, for both parents and children, holidays and birthdays after a divorce can be some of the most difficult things to deal with, traumatic even. It is important that as many things as possible in the children's lives, remain the same. Familiarity with as many things as possible, with the least amount of disruption, is crucial to minimizing the emotional damage divorce causes to the innocent victims, the children. Counseling may be necessary.

Family structure is very important to a child, vital, in fact. Divorce in the family environment requires the family to restructure. It is critical for the well being of the children for both parents to continue to play important roles in their lives. The parents should work together as much as possible for the well being of the children to limit the amount of damage divorce can have on the children.

© High Speed Ventures 2011