Understanding Divorce’s Impact on Children of All Ages
Divorce rates are at an all-time high in America, with more than 45% of all marriages ending within 15 years (Repetti, Taylor, & Seeman, 2014). The risks associated with separation remain, especially when dealing with vulnerable children: preschoolers, school-age children, and teenagers, as well as their emotional, psychological, and educational development and responses. Although most divorces have a negative impact on this young population, the nature of custody after divorce determines “how” and “to what extent” parents of young children, school children, or teenagers respond to divorce. This article suggests possible interventions to address the socio-emotional impact of divorce and custody on preschool, school-aged children, and adolescents, while reducing divorce and helping children deal effectively with divorce.
social-emotional responses to separation and custody measures
Preschoolers are often surprised by their parents’ separation and divorce. Research shows that after parental separation, preschool children do not have the level of education to understand the meaning of divorce. As a result, once a parent leaves the family home, these children often find themselves in turmoil. Many of these children think, “If there is no father/mother, who will take care of me?” They are afraid. .
Preschoolers also express emotional behavior in response to parental separation. Many of these children express emotional pain and suffering by acting out. Situations where custody arrangements, such as separation or sole custody, are inappropriate are aggravated. This is because often the mother may experience financial difficulties to meet the needs of the child, so the child may feel left out. So children react with sadness, grief and withdrawal. Young children always look to their father and mother for sympathy, nurturing, care and protection. Children between the ages of 5 and 6 often break toilet facilities, react with concern and anger, and possibly hurt their parents (Repetti, Taylor, & Seeman, 2014).
For school age children who are the product of good and close parenting, divorce can be emotionally and socially difficult. In particular, this population of 8- to 12-year-olds is depressed and isolated, especially for parents who receive sole or shared custody. They feel that their parents are running away from them. When they blame their children and become angry, negative attitudes of “bad father” and “good mother” parents grow (Clarke-Stewart & Brentano, 2006). Being socially disadvantaged, boys fight with their peers at school and girls are lonely and withdrawn.
Divorced women respond to divorce by reporting declines in school performance, dropping out of school, withdrawing from friends, and exhibiting depression. Many teenagers become rebellious and engage in early sexual behavior. If girls engage in sexual activities to fill the emotional void left by their fathers after divorce, boys may join bad groups and become drug and alcohol abusers (Demo & Acock, 2008). Other teenagers often play the blame game on themselves. They feel guilty because they feel responsible for their parents’ divorce. Because of their emotional vulnerability, anger is directed at them and they feel entitled. They often lose their self-esteem due to stress.
Ways to minimize divorces
There are many ways that couples can take to control the incidence of divorce and provide a healthy developmental environment for their children – keeping in mind that divorce is best dealt with at the relationship level. First, partners can choose to be frugal. Relationships based on affection and love prove to be more lasting compared to relationships underlined by materialism and greed. People should enter relationships for love, not for wealth (Wallerstein & Kelly, 2006). Second, each partner should always find time to bond lovingly with their partner, either face-to-face or through communication (in case of long-distance separation). This makes their relationship strong and increases their attachment. Fourth, each partner should find it natural to praise his/her spouse in front of others and in private. This strengthens their bond and makes them forget their weaknesses and differences. Finally, among other things, spouses should consider spending time apart but remaining faithful. A study (Demo & Acock, 2008) claims that physical separation usually makes spouses, especially women, more physically and emotionally independent (surprisingly perhaps), that it promotes communication between spouses.
Helps children manage stress
There are many methods that parents can always consider while helping children and teens cope with the divorce situation. The most basic measures that every parent should prioritize include:
Avoid visible conflicts and heated discussions as well as legal debates away from children
Maintaining normality and minimizing interference in the child’s daily life
Limiting negativity and blame to secret therapy dialogues or chatting with homeless friends
Involvement of each parent in the children’s life as before
Show your love to your children
Explain their divorce to teens in an open and honest way and continue their parental love to reduce self-obligation among teens
How can I provide support to stakeholders as a professional advisor?
Specifically, as a professional divorce counselor, I can help parties involved in a divorce:
- Give each partner time to express themselves fairly and equally
- To help both ex-wife and ex-husband clearly understand each stage of grief and loss
- Teaching acceptance and optimism in future life, among other coping skills that are crucial in dealing with the psychological and emotional anger and pain resulting from divorce
- Providing opportunities for the whole family to receive support and advice and support by listening to their case and giving them advice on a specific problem
- Provide them with relationship coaching to help each spouse understand why the relationship failed, help them accept, move on, and prevent future relationship problems (Demo & Acock, 2008).
Cultural and ethical strategies to promote resilience, optimal development, and well-being in adulthood
As children go through critical periods in their education, they carefully learn ways and means to manage their rapidly changing minds, emotions, and bodies. Adolescence is dominated by six main drives, including autonomy seeking, relationship building, identity seeking, parental separation, possessiveness, and advanced brain control (Wallerstein & Kelly, 2006). Therefore, there are many cultural and ethical dimensions to foster health, growth, and resilience among teenagers. The most important strategy is to develop social, spiritual and emotional skills in front of parents and guardians who not only care for them, but also understand the unique changes and development of adolescents.
In addition, providing the right configuration of learning events and experiences is another effective strategy to make teenagers more resilient and influencing their lifelong development; emotional and social. In addition, resilience can be enriched by providing support and care to young people, inspiring high positive expectations, teaching life skills, engaging in careers and opportunities, and creating and maintaining clear boundaries between them.