Understanding The Effects Of Divorce On Children
For an individual experiencing divorce, it can be an incredibly difficult time for them and the children as well. The effects on a child's behavior may be unpredictable, and it may affect each child differently. However, the negative effects of divorce on children can extend well beyond the initial emotional reactions of sadness, anger, and resentment. If you're going through a divorce, it's important to understand how divorce may affect your children and learn how to best support them. Before considering your options, you need to ask yourself, "What does divorce mean for my kids?"
How Divorce Affects Children
Divorce may have many negative effects on children, and it can affect each child differently. These negative effects may create issues in a child's education, relationships, and emotional well-being, persisting into adulthood.
Children in school, no matter their age, may see a decline in their academic performance. Their grades may slip, and they may refrain from participating in recreational or after-school sports or activities because they are distracted by their life at home.
Difficulties Adapting to Change
Children experiencing a divorce may find it difficult to adapt to the transition. During a divorce, a child may have to learn how to adapt to a new family unit, a new living situation, different schools, new friends, among other things. This may be incredibly overwhelming for a child, or they may resist these changes.
Loss of Interest
Research shows that divorce may impact children socially. They may find it more difficult relating to other children whose parents aren't divorced, and they may feel no one understands what they are going through.
When a child experiences a divorce, they may experience a wide range of intense emotions during the grieving process. Feelings of anger, confusion, guilt, sadness, or anxiety may cause your child to feel overwhelmed and potentially unsure of how to manage these emotions. Your child must have someone they trust they can talk to about what they are feeling and learn healthy ways to process and cope with these emotions.
How to Make the Transition Easier
Children may face many difficulties when their parents get a divorce. However, there are things you can do as parents that may be able to help them cope.
- Don't keep secrets - It's important not to keep secrets from your children and not wait until the last minute about the divorce. This may give them time to adjust to the transition slowly which may ease the negative effects.
- Don't overshare - While it's important not to keep secrets from your children, it's also just as important to not tell them too much or give them unnecessary information. It may be harmful if you give them information that may portray one parent in a negative light.
- Tell them it's not their fault - Children often feel guilty and may believe the divorce is their fault. You must tell your children the divorce is not because of them.
- Admit it's difficult - It's important to admit that it may not be an easy transition. Please encourage your children that it's okay to have strong emotions and to be sad or angry.
- Tell your children you love them - Let your children know that both you and your partner love them and will always be there to support them regardless of what happens to the family dynamic.
- Talk to them - Your children are likely experiencing many different emotions and may have difficulty coping with them. It's important to be a source of support to your child and be a place they can go to for help.
- Get help - If your child or children are having a challenging time accepting or coping with the divorce, it may be beneficial to seek support from a licensed professional.
If you're experiencing a divorce, you may encounter a wide range of emotions feeling incredibly overwhelmed at times, and you may find difficulties adapting to the new family dynamic. It's important to know you are not alone, and there is the support that can help. A licensed therapist can help ease the traumatic effects of divorce, not only for you but for your entire family. They may be able to provide you and your partner with the tools you need to make the whole process as comforting as possible for you and your children.
While going through a divorce, it may be an incredibly difficult time for you, and it may seem overwhelming to add a therapist into the mix, especially with children. In this case, online therapy may be a great solution to seek support, and you can do it from the comfort of your own home, whenever it is convenient for you and your family. ReGain is an online therapy platform specializing in relationship issues. With one of our licensed therapists' guidance, online counseling eliminates the need for long drives and inconvenient appointment times. Instead, you have the freedom to reach out to your counselor whenever and wherever you want to, at a fraction of the cost. Below are some reviews of ReGain counselors for you to review from people experiencing similar issues.
"Dr. Anstadt is amazing. I appreciate him always reaching out to make sure things are going smoothly in between our sessions. He follows up and genuinely cares about my situation. I would recommend Dr. Anstadt to anyone who is seeking insight on parenting and new relationships after divorce. Thank you for everything!"
"Lisheyna is an amazing person with really beautiful insights. I struggled with my separation, and she helped me regain new insights, which helped me become friends with my ex-wife again and understand her perspective. I am grateful to Lisheyna for her support and would highly recommend her to anyone seeking any personal or relationship counseling."
Going through a divorce may be challenging for the entire family. However, it's possible to overcome the negative effects it may have on your children. If you're experiencing a divorce, it may be beneficial to seek support from a professional relationship therapist. They can provide you with tools and coping mechanisms to help you and your children deal with any challenges you may be facing. ReGain is an online therapy platform specializing in relationships that may be able to help. Reach out today to improve your family dynamic and make the transition of divorce easier to cope with for you and your children.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the impact of divorce on a child?
The effect of divorce on a child may be challenged, and it can affect every child differently. Children may experience emotions in a heightened state, and parental divorce may feel like their world is being completely torn apart. The good news is that with the proper support, respect for your ex-spouse, and time, children from divorced parents can lead happy and fulfilling childhoods.
How bad does divorce hurt the child?
Divorce may affect each child differently. When young children experience their parents' divorce, they may begin to experience guilt, believing the divorce may be because of them. The negative effects of them thinking this way may damage their self-esteem or create abandonment issues. Divorce may make children vulnerable to several physical and psychological illnesses. When parents divorce, it's important that they invest in their child's emotional needs to help them cope with the adjustment.
At what age does divorce impact a child?
Divorce can impact a child regardless of their age. However, younger children from divorced families may be particularly vulnerable. Children who are older or in their teens may be more in tune with the impending situation and maybe more aware of the tension that exists within the household. They may have already developed the coping mechanisms to help them adjust to the new family dynamic. The good news is that the negative effects of divorce on children can be managed. Family or individual therapy can be a great tool and source of support for divorced families. Sessions with a licensed professional may help children better understand and cope with their parent's divorce.
What are the five stages of a divorce?
When a divorce occurs, it is essentially a loss of marriage, so the grieving process is very similar to the emotional process you may experience during the death of a loved one. These stages include:
- Denial - This stage often occurs before the actual divorce has been decided. One partner or both may be in denial because there are issues within their relationship they may not be able to reconcile.
- Anger - When a partner feels rejected, unheard, hurt, or failed in their marriage, they may experience intense anger. It's important to remember anger is a normal emotion, but there are ways to cope with these intense feelings that may be healthier than others.
- Bargaining - This stage of divorce occurs when an individual may be internal or external. A partner may bargain internally, feeling guilty as they could have done things differently to fix the marriage. When the bargaining is external, a partner may ask the other for another chance and promise to change.
- Depression - After the first three stages, a partner may realize that their divorce is over, and they may feel incredibly sad and lose interest in the world around them. This may be one of the most difficult stages of divorce. If you're experiencing symptoms of depression during a divorce, it may be helpful to seek support from a professional to help you find healthy ways to cope.
- Acceptance - During the acceptance stage of divorce, a partner may feel more uplifting emotions and may even feel excited for the new chapter of their life. They have come to terms with the divorce and understand why it may have been the right choice.
It's important to remember that children experiencing a parental divorce may go through a similar grieving process to you and your spouse, and they may need support.
How does divorce affect a child's mental health?
When parents divorce, children may face challenges getting used to the transition or the new family dynamic. They may feel confused and experience difficulties with accepting their parents' decision to divorce. It can be especially challenging for children if a breach of trust is involved in the situation or if their parents have turned against each other.
Divorce can sometimes cause immense tension within a household, affecting a child's mental health and well-being. Every child may manage the divorce differently. However, some of the negative effects may include poor performance in school, a loss of interest in activities, difficulties adapting, anger or irritability, feelings of guilt, among other concerns.
What are the effects of divorce on parents?
Divorce can be a difficult process, especially for the parents involved. It may be difficult for some parents to divide custody and spend less time with their children. Parents may find it difficult to manage the new family dynamic, or they may harbor resentment for the ex-spouse, creating issues within the family. The divorce may cause the parent's emotional distress or mental health concerns, making it more challenging to keep it together in front of the children and carry out parenting responsibilities.
What year of marriage is most common for divorce?
Studies show that most marriages end within years 1-2 and 5-8. Many relationships that make it past this point have most likely developed healthy communication skills to establish a healthy long-term relationship.
If you're beginning to feel like your relationship is facing difficulties, it may be helpful to seek the help of a relationship therapist for support.
Who gets the house in a divorce with children?
This depends on what goals you and your spouse have for the house. Some people decide to sell the property and divide the sale money evenly; others may opt to leave the house independently and allow the spouse to keep it. Throughout the divorce process, both spouses are entitled to remain in the household, and it depends on each couple's situation on who is entitled to property that is jointly owned.
Parents divorced who can settle the distribution of their assets through mediation and outside of a courtroom will find that the process is less jarring for the entire family. The best way to avoid a long, troublesome process is to do your best to make arrangements together. This may still require some professional help, but it can be done respectfully.
Don't hesitate to look into therapy before, during, and after a divorce. Healing from big changes such as this one is something that can be done. It sometimes just takes a little guidance.
What are the long term effects of divorce?
What are the effects of divorce on a family?
- Previous Article6 Signs You Should Be Divorcing A Sociopath
- Next ArticleWhat To Expect During The Divorce Process