Divorce should never be taken lightly. It will change the lives of everybody
in the family, not just the spouses. Further, the spouses get to decide
whether to divorce, and the children have to go along with their parents’ decision.
There are many after effects of divorce on children. Listed below are some
of the effects. Some of these effects are short term, and some of them
are long term. As parents, you must do all you can to help your children
through this life-changing time.
First some short-term effects:
Constant Stress – Many children consider themselves to be the cause
of their parents’ divorce and they must do everything they can to
bring their parents back together, according to the American Academy of
Child and Adolescent Psychology. This belief causes constant stress in
children. That stress can manifest itself in the form of nightmares or
Anxiety – After a divorce most children become anxious, nervous,
and tense. Older children will probably cope better because they are less
dependent on their parents than younger children. However, that doesn’t
mean that their school work won’t suffer or that they won’t
lose interest in things they loved.
Disillusion and Distress – Many children become disillusioned or
distressed if they are not getting the help they need to cope. They need
help from both of their parents, and the problems become worse when the
children only have access to one parent and not the other.
Intense Sadness – When nothing feels good in life, the suffering
of these children often leads to depression.
Mood Swings and Irritability - While interacting with other, some children
become irritable or suffer from mood swings. This behavior can exacerbate
to where a child will not interact with anyone and withdraw into him/herself.
Now some long-term effects:
Prone to Substance Abuse – Alcohol and drugs can become a way for
children – especially teenagers – to vent their anger and
anxiety. And long-term abuse will have damaging effects on the health
and well-being of the child.
Behavior and Social Problems – When parents divorce, their children
often act out their anger and frustration in violent ways including assaults.
The longer the behavior continues, the more permanent the damage, including
criminal behavior. This behavior will have long-term effects on society
as a whole as well.
Trouble with Relationships – When children witness their parents’
marriage fall apart, they can become cynical and wonder if they will ever
have a lasting relationship. They wonder if their own relationships are
doomed to fail. Later as adults, some of these people, will sabotage relationships
to prove their theory of doomed relationships.
Long-Term Depression – Children often slip into depression with the
breakup of their parents’ marriage. However, some do not recover
from the depression and it becomes a mental illness needing professional
Poor Education and Socio-economic Position – Divorce can affect children
by losing their interest in learning, and without a proper educational
foundation, these children are hampering their future career decisions.
Next Week: The Positive Effects of Divorce (Yes, there are some)