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 negative thoughts.
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 medical help.
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)