It is unfortunate, but it is true: when a couple is going through a
divorce, the children are often the ones most effected, 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.
Some of the ways that a child who has been effected by a divorce might
express the effects of divorce can be:
– 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 withdrawal from friends and family
– thoughts of suicide or violence
– increased or early sexual activity
– a failure to acknowledge responsibility.
Some children are effected more by divorce than others. However, all
children will be effected by a divorce. The things that parents do and
don’t do will greatly impact exactly how much a child is effected by the
divorce. In addition, the child’s gender, age, psychological health, and
maturity will also all effect 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 effects them your top priority.
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 effected 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 effects a family’s 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 effected by a divorce.