It goes without saying that as we study how divorce affects children, there are many things that need to be looked at. Certainly, this is an issue that has many different factors involved. There are family dynamics to consider along with the ages of the children involved and what their individual personalities might be. For obvious reasons, a child who is 6 years old will have a different reaction to their parents divorcing than one who is 16 years of age.
By looking at some of the ways children of all ages react to divorce, we can better understand how to get them through the process on an individual level.
Sometimes children who are dealing with divorce can become aggressive or act out towards other adults or their peers. There can be feelings such as helplessness and dismay that will come out of processing the potential divorce of their parents. Such feelings can present in a variety of ways including sleeping disorders, depression or even violence and vomiting in some cases. Because of this, counselors are trained to help children work through the divorce process, letting them know that they have a right to their feelings.
Many parents will become wrapped up in their relationship issues and a pending divorce and tend to forget about the feelings that their child might have. When there are two people who used to be stable in a family who are now arguing and separated, it is easy to see why confusion and hostility can develop. Because of this, parents should try to learn ways that they can come together as a family unit, work on the issues at hand and hopefully remedy a situation before it worsens.
Another sign that speaks of how divorce affects children is the tendency to identify with one of the parents over the other.
Often times, there will be a parent that the child or children spend more time with than the other while a divorce is in the works. This can lead to detachment from the other parent or even unhealthy siding with the parent with whom they see more often. Unfortunately, spending more time with one parent than the other is very frequent in these situations whether due to school scheduling or one parent having a busier work schedule than the other.
To better understand how divorce affects children, it is best that their feelings are fully taken into account. During such a time in a child’s life, they can often feel as though they become insignificant or often a pawn in the divorce. Doctors and therapists alike will tell you that the best medicine to curb such feelings would be both parents working out their differences and trying to do everything in their power to avoid divorce at all costs.
Studies have shown that children who come from a solid family unit will often thrive in society compared to those who come from a broken home. Knowing just how divorce affects children can give us insight on what we should do as adults and role models to lead by example.