Posts Tagged ‘divorcing parents’

Children and Divorces

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Divorces are among the most common and devastating social maladies of our times. In recent decades, almost half of the marriages in the United States sooner or later ends with separation. Overwhelming majority of such break-ups is connected with scandals, humiliation and other negative outcomes. Undoubtedly, separation of parents impacts enormously on their children. As a rule, the first reaction of children on the news about the divorce of their parents is confusion, denial, fear, anxiety or other psychological response. These reactions frequently grow into hard emotional disorders, like aggression, anger, disobedience, vulnerability, depression, suicidal thoughts, etc.

parents-fighting1Within the time, emotional anxiety decreases and the child starts learning to cope with the divorce. Usually, separation of parents brings a lot of different changes in the child’s daily life, and most of them are negative, like loneliness, stresses, new obligations, etc. Therefore, a child can disobey the situation by weird and unusual behaviors, failures in school, withdrawal or other behavioral patterns. Long-term outcomes of divorce on children include fears to lose the attachment for the parents, fear of being rejected by one or both of them, fear of misunderstandings and tension between the parents. All these fears considerably affect psychological condition of the child.

Another common reaction of a child on divorce of the parents is blaming himself in being a reason of the separation. In such case the child will do everything possible to put his parents together again, and failure to do so will cause more suffering. Such situation can result in loss of trust and respect of the child to his parents. Recent studies showed that children of divorced parents usually demonstrate poorer performance in high schools and colleges, have lower abilities to handle interpersonal problems and conflicts, have difficulties to establish long-term relations based on trust, etc.

Finally, the most striking impact of divorce on children is growing up with a single-parent or step-parent. Besides, the child has to remain constantly in the middle of continuous tension between his divorced parents. This affects psychology of children and teenagers to a great extent, therefore the risks of alcoholism, drug abuse and being involved in criminal activity are considerably higher for the children of separated parents. Also, the children of divorced parents are twice more likely to divorce their own spouses in the future.

Certainly, there are situations when parents’ divorce brings relief to the children and causes no negative reaction. For example, if a child is tired of permanent quarrels and confrontations between the parents, their break-up can be accepted by the child as freedom from a burden. But in anyway, sooner or later the child will start missing his withdrawn parent, because parental love and connection can not be replaced or forgotten. It is very important for divorcing parents and other people around to help the children of divorced parents in coping with the difficulties they face.