Parents in seperation and divorce are very concerned about the effects of divorce on children. They wonder whether their decision will affect the happiness and health of their child. Reliable information about the effects on children is still being gathered and analyzed by sociologists and psychologists.
The divorce itself does not affect children in a negative way. The effects result more often from the feeling of uncertainty of what is going to happen after the divorce, from the level of conflict between the parents and from how the parenting after the divorce is done.
The consequences of a divorce for children are mostly that they have to move to a different home and sometimes to a different school and that they will not see and be with both their parents at the same time any more. In most of the cases, they will live with their mother and they will see their father much less.
Manage the effects of divorce on children
To adjust to their new situation takes them 2 years or more.
The age of the children plays a role in how they react to the divorce. Effects of divorce on children under 9 years - the so called pre-schoolers - are that they tend to blame themselves for the divorce. They also dream about their parents getting back together again some day. That's wishful thinking.
For pre-schoolers, the family and especially their parents, is the center of their universe. They need a lot of attention, care, love and confirmation from them. As a result of the divorce, they might become even more dependent of their parents. Divorced parents report that after the divorce, their young children started bed watering again and that they could not or did not want to do simple tasks that they were able to before. Probably, this is their way of getting closer to their parents.
Adolescents (children between 9 and 13 years) react in the opposite direction. They tend to behave more independent. They feel betrayed by their divorced parents. Mistrust enters the relationship. They feel they have to take care of themselves, to take things in their own hands. Mum and dad are apparently putting their interest first.
Among boys, this materialises in more rebellious and agressive behavior. Girls have the tendency to become more anxious and withdrawn. Girls of divorce parents are sexually active at younger age.
Among effects of divorce on children are negative emotions like bitterness, stress, emotional pain, anxiety, fear, feeling abandoned, feeling betrayed and loss of self-esteem.
Judith Wallerstein concluded from her long term research project that the highest impact of divorce on children comes 15 to 25 years after the divorce, when the children enter into a serious romantic relationship. Not during their childhood, adolescence or young adult phase. They expect to fail and they fear loss, change and conflict.
Other know effects of divorce on children are adjustment and behavioral problems resulting from the divorced parents that are stress during longer periods and from interrupted routines. As a result, the children become more difficult to manage.
Children of divorce have problems to adjust to the new situation especially When their divorced parents keep on fighting. The bigger the conflict and the longer it lasts, the more the children seem to be affected.
The visiting parent can have positive or negative effects of divorce on children. If he or she is not paying attention to the child, but instead is fighting with the ex spouse, the child will not enjoy the visit at all. The visits must also be at a regular interval and at predictable times. This way, the children will get the feeling that the visiting parent takes the time and effort to visit them and that it is imporant for their visiting parent too. Finally, divorced parents should not try to find out via their children how their ex is living, what he or she is up to or to know about the new partner of their ex.For additional reading, we warmly recommend your to read the book Helping Children Through Divorce.
Mrs. Wallerstein has deeply investigated the effects of divorce on children during many years. She has followed children during a period of 25 years. She published her findings in 1991. Read the details.
For a solid emotional and social development of children, a strong attachment bond with their primary caretaker. The primary caretaker is the person that is around most of the time and who personally takes care of the young one. If a child is separated from his of her primary caretaker, the development process is seriously distrubed, resulting in emotional and social problems later in life. Learn more in Social and emotional development.
When a married couple starts thinking about separation, the children are often their main concern. They want to know How Does Divorce Affect Children? This depends of many different factors, like age, gender and the size of the conflict. Continue reading on: Affects of divorce on children.
Policies and advice on how chldren of divorce should be treated have been based on assumptions about divorce. Not all of those assumptions seem to be true. This article effect of divorce on children reveals the truth behind 2 of these assumptions.
The level of conflict in the parental relationship determines the effects of divorce on children. Divorcing parents help their children by reducing or eliminating the maritial conflict. This article about the effect of divorce on child explains what parents can do to manage their conflict and how.
The way you tell and explain your children about your separation impacts the effects of divorce on children. For tips and explanations, read the article Explaining Divorce to Children.
The impact of divorce on children is huge. What happens if parents do not think about and care for the well being of their children? What happens if they focus on themselves, when they fight each other instead? Learn why divorced parents should take care of their children: Impact of divorce on children.
Authoritative parenting seems to be the most effective way of parenting in most cases. Parents with such an authoritative parenting style provide a structure in the life of their children and they blend in enough flexibility for surprises and side steps and improvisation. The children are allowed to decide themselves, as long as they stay within the defined boundaries. In the end, the parents keep control over their lives. Hence, the parenting style plays an important role in how divorce affects children.
During and after the divorce of their parents, children go through a difficult and often painful period. Parents should understand this and they should be aware of the emotions that their children experience. For more understanding, please read: affect of divorce to children.
Conflict is bad for children of divorce. The worser the conflict, the more negative it is for the children. We find it necessary to explain the issues that arise from parental conflict. Children need supportive co-parenting. Parents must not fight but cooperate to meet the children's needs. The effects of conflict and escalation is explained in this article about the divorce effects on children.
Anxiety or fear are normal emotions that all of us have from time to time. It protects us from being harmed physically or emotionally. Psychologists speak of Anxiety Disorder is when fear is so present, that it takes over and the person can not function in a normal way any more. Anxiety Disorder is sometimes diagnosed in children of divorce and in those cases it is related to the separation of their parents. There are many people suffering from AD. It can be diagnosed and it can be treated. If you want to help your anxious child, check out The Anxiety-Free Child Program.
Angry children or angry parents often have negative effects of divorce on children. Anger prevents us from positive and contructive thinking and behaving. It depletes all our energy. If somebody is angry most of the time and it does not go away, it must be dealt with. Read how the divorce related anger can be controlled in Anger Child Divorce.
The Battered Women Syndrome is caused by long lasting domestic violence against a woman. The violence can be physical, mental or a combination of both. Women suffering from the Battered Women Syndrome are incapable to escape from their situation. As a result, these women harm their children because they are confronted with the violence every day. When the woman finally leave their abusing partner, the damage to the children has been done. The longer the situation continues, the worse it is for the children.
Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) is another of the possible effects of divorce on children. Typically, a child with ODD is uncooperative and defiant. He or she is hostile when authority figures interfere with the youngster's day to day functioning. Oppositional Defiance Disorder can be treated by professionals.
The literature describes many effects divorce children. But how many children are really affected? How do they do when compared to children that live in normal families? It is well known that a divorce results in e emotional and behavioral problems in children, but what exactly is the root cause? Does the divorce itself cause these effect or is it something else? This article provides you with answers on these questions.
Many divorcing parents do consider the effects of divorce on children before they actually separate. Women experience different physical and emotional effects from a divorce than men. Statistics show that women are affected more physically, while men seem to experience more emotional problems. Read on inEffects of Divorce
What is the story of your children during and after your divorce? What did you learn from it? What are your challenges? Share it!
A 12 weeks program for divorced parents.
By signing up, you will receive each week insights, ideas, tools, tips and exercises how to create a positive mindset and a stimulating environment in which you and your children will thrive after your divorce. The program is offered to you in 12 digestable parts.
Return to the Home page of Children and Divorce
Helping Children Through Divorceby Wendy Mollah