Lately, the psychologists and analysts are keenly studying the development pattern of the youth and the children. The main point of debate is negative effect of divorce on the young children. With regular follow up and researches, some of the mysteries have been unfurled. Yet there is still a lot to be dug out to find the extent of effect divorces make on the young generation.
Today’s studies mainly focus on the long-term effect of divorce on children. When keenly observed, the studies show that apart from short-term effects, which are visible immediately within months from divorce, there are certain effects that surface in the later years and are detrimental to the understanding of relationships, emotional stability and overall development of the children.
For many the divorce of their parents can change the whole life and their perspective towards looking at life.
Please note, “Emotional outburst of a kid is far better than long term depression.”
Startling Increase in the Divorce Rate
The statistics on divorce rate are highly alarming. The rate is mostly high in the industrialized western countries. In the United States, during the early sixties the divorce rate was 10.6 per 1000 marriages that by late seventies increased to 22.8 percent. In Canada, the divorce rate in 1997 was near to 51 percent. The negative repercussions of these divorces mostly give traumatic experiences to the family, the couple and importantly to the children.
Pre-Divorce Phase Is Equally Tumultuous
Although, adults go through traumatic experiences a lot, they have the strength to overcome it and eventually most of them settle with another partner in their life. However, children demand the most attention as it is difficult for them to adjust to rapid changes in their lives. From termination of relationship to divorce and court custody cases, the children are forced to face anguishing situations without any fault of theirs. In addition, for most of these kids understanding the reasons behind these changes is beyond comprehension.
The period before the divorce is equally problematic for the children as the quarrelling and arguments in the house create an unhealthy living environment. By the time, the relationship reaches the rock and is on the verge to break-up the children’s innocence has already paid the price. The legal battles can be lengthy especially there is problem of children’s custody and maintenance. This argument continues for years together and during this time, the concept of safe and happy home that the children carry in their mind shatters completely.
Known Short-Term Effects of Divorce on Kids:
- Acting Out, Aggression or Impulsivity
- Sadness, A Bit of Depression and/or Stress
- Economic Hardship
- Increased Dependency
- Interpersonal Conflict
- Less Consistent Discipline
- Less Parental Supervision
- Lower Academic Achievement
- More Negative Sanctions
- Non-Compliance or Opposition
- Perceived Parental Loss
- Lower Self-Concept and Social Adjustment Difficulty
Long Lasting Impact of Divorce on Children
Many contemporary theorists believe that the divorce phase, including the period before the divorce, during the divorce process and post divorce has long-term negative effects on the kids. The researches of the past 10 years have focused on many aspects related to this topic such as sleeper effect, delayed social mutation, increased likeliness of marital dissolution or instability and also lower levels of socioeconomic status and academic achievement. The researchers have concluded that to cut down the long-term effect of divorce on the children, proper intervention from the families is important. It is a prime duty of the close friends and the other family members to ease out the children from the stressful situations and ensure that the adverse effects reduce as much as possible.
Similarities and Variation in Negative Effects
The recent studies indicate that the long-term negative impact can differ from child to child, but there are certain similarities too. The key factors that dominate the impact of divorce on children include
- Degree of conflict among parents,
- Changes in financial conditions,
- Changes in the style of parenting,
- Loss of contact with one of the parent
The children miss both their parents and if either of the parents becomes nonresidential, it creates a sense of loss and insecurity within the child.
According to the studies conducted by Wolfinger and his colleagues in 2003, the siblings living together also are impacted differently even though they go through similar situation. For some kids the effect is long lasting while some children, especially in their teens come out of it earlier and manage to take hold of their lives. The intensity of the long-term divorce effects depends apart from age on the gender of the child as well. The gender of child plays a major role too. Contrary to the fact that both girls and boys are facing the same stressful situation, girls are known to come out of such situation in better way than the boys do.
- What to say
- How to Say
- What not to
- What to Do
- Tell them the truth. Tell them you are with them
- Keep your cool
- Don’t sulk
- Give an honest assurance
- Express your love
- Maintain respect
- Don’t nag
- Maintain a routine
- Answer them honestly
- Clear all the misunderstandings
- Don’t criticize
- Tack their progress
- Give facts, if the facts disgrace other partner, avoid them altogether.
- Be gracious in your response
- Don’t hurt them – emotionally or physically to vent your anger
- Spend some quality time together
Co-Relation between Divorce and Educational Attainment
The studies of Wolfinger also reveal that there is a co-relation between the divorce and educational attainment. The effect and relation is more significant in the families where the children grow up with stepparents and stepfamilies. Surprisingly, children who grow up with their mother as single parent show significant divorce rate and have more chances of failing academically. On the other hand, those who are raised in stepfamilies have long lasting and stronger marriages and a good career.
Multiple Divorces Have Devastating Effects
Many children unfortunately have to face multiple divorces and separations in their families. This further increases the intensity of difficulties that the children face. Such children grow up without any faith for relationship and are recluse. This can prove problematic for their future emotional and career growth.
Canadian Law: Divorce and Child Custody
Parenting is not an easy task. Children are greatly affected by separation or divorce. They have to choose between either of their parents when they want both of them together. Although, these things cannot be altered, at least by settling the property and the custody issue fairly, the parents can do some justice to their upbringing. Some of the main decisions you would have to take are how much time and money you each are going to give to your kids and who will have an upper hand when it’s time to take career or other personal decisions for them.
Serious Signs to Watch For
Of course, each child goes through turmoil during breakup or divorce of parents. Yet there are signs that you should monitor closely. The effect of this emotional setback should not result in permanent damage.
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Refusal of activities that he/she enjoyed earlier
- Poor or No concentration at all
- Violent outbursts
- Sleep disorders
- Self-injury, cutting, or eating disorders
- Frequent angry
- Absolute Withdrawal from friends and family
Be extremely cautious that these signs do not develop in your child for long run. They are the future and we, as adults need to do everything that we can to nurture them so that they turn out to be really healthy, happy, mature, and progressive leaders. Parenting is never easy and it is our prime duty towards future too.
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