Initially marriage can be all glorious and rosy with so much passion between the couples. But the passage of time and the hard facts of reality – from finances, work related stress, to a nagging or cheating spouse – can hit the couples really hard. And many a times you find couples crying out and lamenting, with complaints like ‘we don’t seem to get along’, ‘we were so much in love before but now we can’t seem to agree on anything’, ‘she doesn’t care about me’, ‘he loves football more than his own wife’.
Comments like these and heart-breaking accusations move back and forth between couples turning a once loving and romantic relationship into a hostile one. And most often than not, couples decide to split and go their separate ways. This is apparently no news considering the high rate of divorce and broken homes in our today’s world. But what about the little ones involved? How are they affected by all these chaos in the home? Divorce can be the best option for couple, but how will the kids cope it?
The effects of divorce on kids can be both negative and positive and can vary depending on factors like the kids’ age, gender and the situation in the family before the divorce. Some of the major effects of divorce on kids are discussed below:
- UNSTABLE MENTAL HEALTH
Divorce can be a major cause of stress for adults but for young children it can be very devastating and this can lead to series of emotional and psychological problems. Ordinarily, children going through life experience different levels of psychological problems, but those who witness the divorce of their parents are more prone to mental health issues both as young kids, adolescents and even way into their adult lives.
For a really young child whose parents are the centre of his world, divorce can leave him disoriented and confused leading to increased anxiety and inability to concentrate properly. This tends to make the child more frequently angry and irritable. Due to unfocused concentration, these kids (mostly 2-9 years) may find it difficult to assimilate new information. This retards their growth rate and increases their dependency level.
- FEELING OF UNLOVE/ABANDONMENT
Divorce can be a source of immense stress for young children, they may feel abandoned and unloved by the absent parent which can lead to series of unhealthy negative thoughts and even nightmares. Children undergoing such stress and pressure also tend to suffer from mood swings and are always upset. Some other kids may withdraw from people, they become quiet and prefer to be left alone in isolation.
These kids are sad and feel rejected – and can lose interest in activities they once found exciting – this intense sadness if not properly handled can lead to depression. While young children tend to become more dependent and irritable in the wake of divorce, older children react a lot differently. Pre-teens and adolescents tend to withdraw from the family and find solace with friends. This leaves them vulnerable and they start experimenting with sex at really young ages. And substance abuse and possible addiction will ensue. Some of these kids can become unruly and very disrespectful while others can become depressed.
- INCREASE IN PHYSICAL HEALTH PROBLEMS :
Studies show that children who experience parental divorce are at higher risk of having physical health problems. They have higher chances of getting injured and will more likely suffer from asthma, cancer and other severe health issues. This is largely due to the high level of stress they have to go through which inevitably takes its toll on them physically.
- HIGHER RATE OF GETTING DIVORCED THEMSELVES
Studies have also shown that children from broken homes will more likely have trouble with their relationships. These kids have reservations and will find it difficult to love thoroughly and completely, they also have problems with effectively resolving conflicts in their relationships. And will more likely end up divorced. This is not true for every child as different children react differently and these enduring negative effects of divorce can be mitigated through professional assistance.
- SEVERED FAMILY TIES :
Aside getting a divorce themselves, another long-term consequence of divorce is increased weakness in family relationship. Children from divorced families tend to have weaker ties with the parent who is absent and are less likely to support that parent at old age. Also, this weakness in family ties goes on to affect the grandchildren as they are farther away from grandparents.
The effects of divorce are not all bad. If the atmosphere in the family is hostile with parents always fighting and cursing, the kids will be affected adversely. And in cases like this, a divorce will affect the kids positively as it will replace the hostility with peace and serenity making the kids happier, more relaxed and less likely to get into trouble at school.
Conclusively, a divorce can have devastating and severe consequences on kids, some of these effects can be short-term while others can set the pace for the child’s life and endure into adulthood. However, these obviously unpleasant consequences of divorce can be mitigated, given proper professional assistance for the kids and understanding from the parents.