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How does divorce affect a child?

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2024 | Divorce |

Breakups are never easy, especially if the couple has kids together. Whether the separation happened while they were young or in their teens, it may still significantly impact their lives.

Dealing with the first year of the divorce

Research shows that children struggle with their parents separating or divorcing in the first year. During the early months after the split, children may face academic problems, participate in risky behavior (especially teenagers) and avoid social interactions and relationships. While some kids bounce back quickly after the fact, others find it challenging to adjust to their new lifestyle and even deal with feelings of anger, disbelief, betrayal, shame and anxiety.

Reducing the psychological damage to children

After the divorce, the child loses daily contact with the other parent. This communication gap may lead to a strained bond between parent and child. They usually feel alone, guilty and discouraged. Still, there is a way for parents to reduce the impacts of the divorce.

  • Positive co-parenting: Parents should not talk negatively about the other parent when the child is with them. Both parents must show respect for each other despite the separation so that the child can still connect with both parents on an emotional level.
  • Consistency: A divorce is a massive change for a child, and the transition can be overwhelming. With the constant moving of houses and switching of schools, the world may seem unstable to the child. The child may feel secure if both parents are on the same page regarding home, discipline, school and friendships.
  • Reassurance: Parents must talk to their children and assure them that the divorce is not their fault. Both parents should clarify that they still love the child and will remain there for them. It is also vital to validate and hear them out when they open up about their feelings.

Some children may need additional support after a divorce, and some professionals can help parents and children cope with the situation.

Although a divorce is a tough time for the entire family, there are ways to lessen the emotional and psychological damage to those involved. Younger children may not understand the situation and teenagers may find it hard to accept, so it is essential to provide them with enough love and support as they deal with the circumstances.


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