The Effects of Divorce on Children

Regardless of the situation, children worry about what is going on in their lives, and they see divorce as something very traumatic. One of the most important things to a child in a divorce situation is their own security. They are not concerned for their parents’ happiness, but rather on their own well-being.

Some concerns they express are:

  • What if they both leave me?
  • What is it that I did wrong?
  • It must have been me who caused the divorce.
  • Now what's going to happen to me?

Children react in different ways to divorce. Some will be extremely sad and may show signs of depression and even sleeplessness. Children's anxiety levels go up as they feel they are going to be abandoned or rejected by one or both parents. Some may experience loneliness due to a long absence of one of the parents.

The changes caused by a divorce can affect the child for the rest of their lives. Some children may become psychologically scarred from the experience, while others may not be affected emotionally at all. Much of it does depend on how the parents handle the situation. It is better for the child to grow up in an environment that is conflict free. When children are exposed to a family environment that is in constant conflict, they are more likely to be psychologically scarred by that experience.

Uncontrollable Side Effects
With divorce comes side effects that cannot be controlled. Many times money, or lack of it, becomes a problem. Child support or financial assistance can make things very difficult for one or both parents.

In some instances one of the parents may have to relocate. This brings with it a new set of problems. Not only do the parents have to work things out, but the children have to adjust to a new school, friends and environment.

These are just a few examples of the unfortunate side effects that come with a divorce. There is really nothing that anyone can do to change the situation, so the children and parents must stick it out and adjust to the changing environment. While children often adapt very well to change, they still need the love and support from both parents in order to get through the situation.

The Loss of Family
Family structure is very important and families are very special. These are the people that know you the best. Then divorce happens.

Divorce means that the family must restructure itself. Both parents must continue to play an important role in the life of their child. Parents should design a well thought out parenting plan in order to keep some predictability in the family structure. This is good for the child's sake. Divorce does not have to mean the end of a family.

It is also good for the children to keep close ties with other relatives. Even if you as the parent do not get along with the extended family, you must keep in mind that extended family is good for the children. The children need these people in their lives.

Birthdays and Holidays
For parents and their children birthdays and holidays can be difficult. Remember that the first birthday, the first Christmas, the first anything spent without a former spouse is the hardest. As the years pass, things get easier for you and your children as you all become accustomed to new routines and traditions. As each year passes, the family will feel more comfortable with the way they celebrate events.

It is also important to remember that you do not completely lose your former spouse with divorce. They must also be there for the child. With a divorce you may lose your spouse, but you both remain parents. You and your ex will always be your children's parents, and it is wrong for any parent to deny the other parent the pleasures of spending holidays and birthdays with their children.

Stepfamilies
Stepfamilies can be very complicated. The number of children that are involved, and how the children get along with the new step-parent, are important factors to consider when dealing with a stepfamily. Also, each person involved in the stepfamily may have different feelings about the new family. For example, the stepmother's feelings may be very different from the stepchild's feelings.

Despite the fact that stepfamilies are very complex and difficult, it is possible for the new family to become a very strong family unit. Everyone involved must get some time to adjust to the new way the family operates. Remember that a new stepfamily member cannot just jump into a new family and try to take charge. The new family must take things very slowly, and each family member must carefully think things out before they act.