In this article, we talk about the effects of divorce on children.
Divorce can be a stressful time for anyone–and the aftermath can be just as traumatic as children are shuffled back and forth between parents all the while missing one parent or another. Essentially, divorce tends to increase a young child’s dependence and accelerates an adolescent’s independence. Adolescents also often become aggressive toward their parents after a divorce.
Effects of Divorce on Children
For the young child, divorce shakes their trust in their parents. It can also be hard to convince a young child of the permanence of divorce. In the short term, young children can get very anxious, so it is important parents take time to answer their questions. If possible, parents should also look for opportunities to spend time together–a family celebration, for instance. Even if the time is brief, it can still leave a lasting positive impression. During this time period, it is not uncommon to see regressive behaviors from children–crying at bed times, bed-wetting, clinging, whining, tantrums, etc.
The more independent-minded adolescent tends to deal more aggressively to divorce. He/ she may get rebellious and insist on taking care of him/herself,. Adolescents tend to try and exact revenge on their parents to get pay back. For parents, it is important to try and take this increase in self-interest and redirect it toward more responsibility. Much like with a younger child, it is important for parents to focus on routines, rituals and reassurance.
The effects of divorce on children can be difficult for a parent to accept. In accepting them, though, parents acknowledge something very profound–their responsibility to their kids. In the long term, children recognize what their parents have done and will appreciate it. In the short term, it is difficult, but parents need to be consistent and stable for their children. The effects of divorce on children are very real, but can absolutely be mitigated with consistent, patient parenting.