It is unfortunate, but it is true: when a couple is going through a
divorce, the children are often the ones most affected, and are often the
ones that are given the least amount of attention. Children can be severely
traumatized by divorce, especially if the divorce is a nasty one, and/or if
there is a prolonged or an intense custody battle.
Children who go through a divorce often face issues with self esteem. They
may believe that they themselves caused the divorce, or that they did
something wrong that made mommy and/or daddy want to not be with them.
In a divorce, children are also affected in the area of security. Fears
that both parents will abandon the child are common, as are fears about what
will happen to them next. In addition, the absence of one of their parents
can make the child feel extremely lonely.
A divorce affects a familys structure and operating procedures. In some
cases, a divorce will mean that a child literally loses a parent, only to
see them once or twice in a year, or even less. This can also cause a child
to lose contact with the family of the non-custodial parent, as the child
may be less and less likely to see those grandparents, uncles, aunts, or
cousins. Basic logistics, such as holidays, birthday parties, and school
activities are also affected by a divorce.
Some of the ways that a child who has been affected by a divorce might
express these difficulties can include:
– large amounts of anger, directed both toward others and themselves
– frequent breaking of rules
– drug and/or alcohol abuse
– destructive behavior
– frequent guilt
– problems with defiance
– increasing isolation or withdrawl from friends and family
– thoughts of suicide or violence
– increased or early sexual activity
– a failure to acknowledge responsibility
Some children are affected more by divorce than others. However, all
children will be affected by a divorce. The things that parents do and
dont do will greatly impact exactly how much a child is affected by the
divorce. In addition, the childs gender, age, psychological health, and
maturity will also all affect how a divorce impacts a child.
Divorce will not be easy for a parent; but a parent is a grown adult who
has (hopefully) mastered coping skills. Children, on the other hand, are
not necessarily as prepared as an adult in this regard. If you are going
through a divorce and have children, you need to make the way that the
divorce affects them your top priority.