All children are affected by divorce in some way. Their world, their security and the stability they have known seem to fall apart when parents divorce.
Understand that I am talking here about tendencies, not certainties. Divorce introduces a massive change into the life of a boy or girl no matter what the age.
Witnessing loss of love between parents, having parents break their marriage commitment, adjusting to going back and forth between two different households, and the daily absence of one parent while living with the other, all create a challenging new family circumstance in which to live.
In the personal history of the boy or girl, parental divorce is a watershed event. Life that follows is significantly changed from how life was before. Somewhat different responses to this painful turn of events occur if the boy or girl is still in childhood or has entered adolescence.
Consider why this variation may be so. For the young child, divorce shakes trust in dependency on parents who now behave in an extremely undependable way. They surgically divide the family unit into two different households between which the child must learn to transit back and forth, for a while creating unfamiliarity, instability, and insecurity, never being able to be with one parent without having to be apart from the other.
Convincing a young child of the permanence of divorce can be hard when his intense longing fantasizes that somehow, some way, mom and dad will be living back together again someday.
He relies on wishful thinking to help allay the pain of loss, holding onto hope for a parental reunion much longer than does the adolescent who is quicker to accept the finality of this unwelcome family change.
So much is different, new, unpredictable, and unknown that life becomes filled with scary questions?
By reverting to a former way of functioning, more parental care-taking may be forthcoming. There can be separation anxieties, crying at bed times, breaking toilet training, bed-wettingclinging, whining, tantrums, and temporary loss of established self-care skills, all of which can compel parental attention.
The child wants to feel more connected in a family situation where a major disconnection has occurred. Regression to earlier dependency can partly be an effort to elicit parental concern, bringing them close when divorce has pulled each of them further away - the resident parent now busier and more preoccupied, the absent parent simply less available because of being less around.
The more independent-minded adolescent tends to deal more aggressively to divorce, often reacting in a mad, rebellious way, more resolved to disregard family discipline and take care of himself since parents have failed to keep commitments to family that were originally made.
Where the child may have tried to get parents back, the adolescent may try to get back at parents. Where the child felt griefthe adolescence has a grievance. He feels increasingly autonomous in a family situation that feels disconnected. He now feels more impelled and entitled to act on his own.
For the parent who divorces with a child, the priority is establishing a sense of family order and predictability. Thus parents establish household and visitation Routines so the child knows what to expect. They allow the child to create Rituals to feel more in control of her life.
And they provide continual Reassurance that the parents are as lovingly connected to the child as ever, and are committed to the making this new family arrangement work.
Adolescence and Holiday Safety.Children Coping With Divorce: Nine Dos and Don'ts. Isolina Ricci, PhD, a family therapist and author of Mom's House, Dad's House, says, "When children are free to love both of their parents.
A look at the immediate and long-term impact of divorce on children. All children are affected by divorce in some way. Their world, their security and the stability they have known seem to fall apart when parents divorce. In addition, the child's gender, age, psychological health, and maturity will.
This article summarizes many of the common psychological and emotional effects divorce has on men, women and children. The divorce rate in the United States is the highest in the world. The Impact of Divorce: All Children Only Get One Childhood Find a Therapist Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today.
The impact of effects of divorce on children is negative. They more likely to be referred for psychological help, become earlier sexually active, are are more likely to produce children out of wedlock and they are three times as likely to divorce themselves or to never marry.
A common impact of parental divorce on children is not the inability to love but the loss of trust that gets in the way of forming committed loving relationships. In counseling, exploring how to.