Divorce is never a happy time or experience for anyone. With most divorces you are left with a bitter feeling, and many sad days and nights. If this is how it affects you as an adult, you can imagine how your child feels while dealing with a divorce. But what are the effects on your child really?
The exact effects are often determined based upon the age of your child. If you have a very young child, pre-school age, and lower, you can expect to find them reverting towards baby-like behavior again. This includes behavior such as wetting the bed after being potty trained, clinging to a security blanket, or other security toy, and even becoming clingy towards parents. If your child is experiencing the trauma of a divorce, they are highly confused and do not know how to behave. Many very small children will become angry, depressed, and almost on the verge of out of control.
Older children who are school aged can also experience depression, and anger towards their parents during a divorce. Children this age are typically old enough to understand that their parents are separating, and often look to blame themselves for the divorce. Aside from potentially blaming themselves for the divorce, they also tend to feel very resentful towards the parent who leaves the home.
With all of these effects, you may think you have heard the worst; however, other effects that your child can experience include resentment towards one or both parent. While some children attempt to be very loving with their parents during this difficult process, others tend to pull away from their parents. Some children have even been noted to start acting out in school as a result of the divorce.
The range of effects on children also tends to vary greatly depending upon how close your child is to each parent. They will be more upset if a parent whom they are very close to leaves. If your child is not very close to a parent, then the trauma of a divorce is less likely to be harsh. The reaction your child has will depend upon how the adults act as well. What does this mean for you?
Simply put, it means that you must work as hard as possible to refrain from fighting and allowing your child to know all of the details of the divorce. Because of the stressful nature of divorce in general, you do not want your child to know all of the details or they will become stressed even faster. This is something that should be avoided at all costs. You never want your child to know the exact details of the divorce either; there are some things that should be kept shielded from your child to help them stay a child.
Often parents tend to tell children much too much about a divorce. The biggest problem with this is that the children who know too much tends to take on the roll of a "little adult." This means that they start trying to take on the management of the house, and often end up either out of control, or else try to bear the burden of all the problems in their family on their shoulders.
This is detrimental to a child because they need time to be young, and enjoy life with their friends and in school. Some children who take on the "little adult" mentality have been known to resort to crime to help bring money into the household that they believe is needed. While this is rare, it has happened and happens more now, than just a few years ago. So what does this mean to you as a parent?
It means that you should work very hard at keeping children far out of the conversations that pertain to the matters of the divorce. This includes issues pertaining to custody, child support, visitation, and assets divided. Children should never be allowed to be a part of these conversations as this gives them more stress than they need. Instead, a better solution is to discuss matters with children in a manner they can understand, after decisions are made.
With work and effort, the effects of the divorce on your child can be minor. However, without controlling the flow of information to your child, it is very easy to see a stressful situation spiral out of control quite quickly. Ensure your child understands that both parents love them and still care, and ensure your child has access to both parents to help relieve the problems of the divorce. This will also help your child adjust as well as possible.
Here are additional resources you might be interested in:
Explaining Divorce to Your Kids
What Effects can Divorce have on Teenagers?
How to Manage the Effects of Divorce on Children and the Family?
More information on dealing with Children and Divorce click here