Effects of Divorce on Children

When a divorce happens it causes trauma to the couple, the children and the other members of the family.  Children are more stressed than parents and the incident may lead to waywardness expressed in different ways.

While some children can cope pretty well with the trauma of divorce, some are affected very badly, sometimes needing counseling to get back to normalcy.
The effects that a divorce can have on children are
  • Depression ranging from mild to severe may occur, as the child hankers for a stable home and the affection and presence of both parents
  • There are sporadic outbursts of anger when the children will blame parents of upsetting their sense of security
  • Stress is the most common effect seen in children after a divorce.  Anxiety about everything mars their sense of normalcy and makes them extremely insecure. 

It is important that children are helped to view the divorce as an inevitable step that in no way will upset their emotional balance or daily routine.  For children who take longer to cope with the stress, it is essential that parents watch out for tell-tale signs of deeper anxiety.  They are

  • Tendency to create trouble in school
  • Lack of concentration
  • Lack of control on temper
  • Loss of interest in social interaction
  • Unwilling to talk to family members
  • Preference for prolonged periods of solitude
  • Reluctance to pursue hobbies
  • Attempts to hurt self
  • Inability to sleep or tendency to oversleep
  • Resorting to intake of drugs or alcohol

A significant observation about the effects of divorce on children is that girls are more affected by the problem than boys.  After a divorce, if the father leaves home, the girl misses him a lot and this translates into interaction problems with the opposite sex. 

In many instances, girls tend to blame themselves for the divorce and their self esteem takes a sharp blow.  They become less confident of themselves and feel more insecure about emotional ties with their friends and family. 

Children cherish the feeling of belonging and interpersonal relationships with great sentiment.  When deprived of the presence of the father, they tend to feel distressed and melancholic.  It is important to reassure them that they can keep in touch and spend quality time with the father, that their routine and security regarding day-to-day issues would remain unchanged and whatever the differences between the parents, both will continue to love the children as always.

It is for all these reasons that parents have to be honest with their children about an impending divorce.  A kind but firm talk about the issues involved and the inevitability of the decision should sharply put in perspective, the fact that the children’s life will take a minimum of reshuffling. 

Though the dismay, stress and distress of the children when they learn of an impending separation cannot be avoided, it can be effectively kept under control by the careful and sensitive handling of the issue by the parents, friends and other members of the family. 

Blurb:  Divorce is an unfortunate step that affects the whole family.  While the couple faces a lot of mental trauma, the children suffer no less.  Some children may become depressed while others display unreasonable anger. It is important to help children deal with the crisis.

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