Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children

The consequences of divorce for children are often negative. They are often too young to understand what is happening and can feel sad, lonely, angry, and sidelined. Sometimes the children even feel guilty for the divorce. Usually, children try to hide these feelings unsuccessfully so that the family can pretend that there is not any problem.

According to some researches, more than one million children are affected poorly by divorce in America. And half of the children who came into world this year will most likely be affected by divorce by the time they are 18 years old. It is also common for parents to enter the world of poverty after divorcing, furthermore affecting the children negatively.

Although some parents successfully raise happy children after divorce, it is common for children to be victimized after the split. They tend to have more health, mental and behavioral problems. They are also capable of crime and using drugs. Their schoolwork also may suffer as they tend to have poorer reading and spelling skills than children of parents who are not divorced.

There are specific consequences of divorce depending on the child’s age.

Age 3-5:

In general, younger children may have some sleeping problems. Also, they may have increasing fear and insecurity because of their parents’ divorce.

Age 6-8:

At this stage, children tend to fantasize about their parents getting back together. They have problems with the permanence of divorce and hope that the separation is just temporary so that they can get on with a normal life pre-divorce.

Age 8-11:

Children at this stage tend to feel angry and powerless. They could also be tempted to take the side of one of the parents.

Age 12-18:

Teens are unique in that they may be more capable of responding well to divorce but they may also respond extremely negatively. They could feel depressed, start to rebel, and even speak of suicide.

Preventing Negative Consequences

The most useful thing that parents can do when going through a divorce is speaking to their children, preferably together. Just because you and your partner are no longer able to live together does not mean that you cannot sit in the same room as each other and discuss it like adults with your children. If your children see you together, it can be easier on them. Always try to avoid arguing in front of the children and show respect for each other, even if your real feelings are anything but respectful. Your ex-spouse is always going to be a part of your children’s lives and you want your children to respect both mom and dad. Never make them take sides and never speak negatively of your ex-spouse. You would not want your ex-spouse to speak negatively of you in front of your children, so set a good example.

It may also help to seek professional help and discuss your situation with a support group. As the aforementioned statistics show, you are not alone.

Do not blame yourself. You never entered into the marriage expecting to get a divorce. Still, consider the effects of divorce on your child so that you can prepare them for it. A divorce does not automatically mean that you will have troubled children. Just be smart about it and keep the lines of communication open.

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