How Divorce Affects Children

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About half of all children in the United States will see their parents get divorced when they’re growing up. Divorce is tough on everyone involved, but it can have a significant impact on children.

The breakup of their parents’ marriage can be a traumatic experience for kids, leaving them feeling confused, hurt, and betrayed. These feelings can impact all areas of your child’s life.

Emotional Impact

One common emotional response is grief. Children may mourn the loss of their intact family and struggle to come to terms with the new reality of divided households.

They might experience feelings of abandonment or rejection. They may also wonder if they did something wrong to cause the separation. These intense emotions can manifest in various ways. This could include anger, sadness, or even withdrawal from social activities.

In addition, children going through a family divorce often experience anxiety and depression. The upheaval in their lives, the uncertainty of the future, and the emotional turmoil can take a toll on their mental health. They may feel overwhelmed, sad, or constantly worried about what will happen next.

Behavioral Changes

Children going through a family divorce often experience significant behavioral changes. These changes can manifest in various ways, such as acting out or becoming withdrawn.

Some children may exhibit more aggressive behavior, while others may become more anxious or clingy. They might also have difficulty focusing and following instructions at home or school.

These behavioral changes are a normal response to a distressing situation. Children may struggle with expressing their emotions verbally. Their behaviors become an outlet for them to cope with their feelings.

Academic performance

Children whose parents are getting divorced often struggle in school. The emotional turmoil and stress from the divorce can impact their ability to focus and concentrate on schoolwork. They might have trouble finishing assignments, studying for tests, or going to class regularly.

Changes in routine and living arrangements can also disrupt their educational stability. When kids move or change schools, they may feel insecure and struggle with school.

Social Relationships

Social relationships can be significantly impacted when children go through a family divorce. The changes and disruptions in their family structure can lead to feelings of isolation. This makes it difficult to maintain healthy friendships.

They may withdraw from social activities or struggle with trust issues, fearing that others will abandon them.

Factors That Influence Children’s Experience

Various factors contribute significantly to how children navigate through their parent’s divorce. Parents should be aware of these influences to reduce negative impacts on their child’s well-being.

Age of the Child

The age of the child plays a significant role in how they experience their parents’ divorce. Toddlers and preschoolers may find it difficult to understand changes in their family. They may exhibit regressive behaviors like bedwetting or clinginess as a response to stress.

As children grow older, around elementary school age, they may have a better understanding of divorce. However, they can still struggle with feelings of sadness or guilt.

Teenagers may feel more emotional and rebellious as they figure out who they are while their parents are getting divorced.

Level of Conflict Between Parents

Many couples experience constant arguments, hostility, and unresolved conflicts when going through divorce. This can detrimentally impact the emotional well-being of the children involved. The tension and animosity between parents can create an unstable and stressful environment for the child.

Communication and Support from Parents

When parents communicate well, it helps children feel secure and understood. Talking openly about the changes in their family and making sure children feel loved can reduce worry and confusion.

Custody Arrangements and Visitation Schedules

Children need consistency and predictability, especially during times of transition. When custody arrangements are clear and followed consistently, it provides a sense of security for the child.

On the other hand, inconsistent or constantly changing visitation schedules can lead to confusion and anxiety. This makes it harder for children to adjust to their new reality.

Resources and Support for Children Going Through Divorce

Children going through a family divorce often need extra support to handle the challenges. Luckily, there are resources to help them manage and flourish in this challenging period.

Therapy and Counseling 

Children can learn healthy ways to handle their feelings during a divorce through therapy and counseling. They may also gain insight into their own emotions.

Support Groups 

Children of divorced parents can find support in groups where they can share their feelings and experiences with others in similar situations. These groups offer a safe and understanding space.

They also provide kids with a sense of belonging and community. It helps them feel less alone.

School Resources 

Schools know that divorce can affect how a child feels and how they do in school. Many schools offer services like:

  • Counseling
  • Support Groups
  • Other supportive services

This helps give your children the tools they need.

Co-parenting Techniques 

Co-parenting techniques can help kids feel secure and stable. When parents have the same rules at both houses, it helps kids feel more secure. Also, when parents are respectful in front of their children, it shows they can still work together after separating.

Work With a Family and Divorce Lawyer Who Understands Your Family’s Needs

Divorce is tough on children. However, there are things you can do to lessen the impact. When you’re going through a divorce work with family lawyers that understand the impact on your children. They’ll be able to guide you as you make decisions regarding your kids. Are you looking for a family and divorce lawyer in Tulsa? Schedule a consultation today with one of our family and divorce lawyers.