Most parents understand that divorce is hard on their children, but they may not realize exactly how ending their marriage will impact their children.
Rather than keeping yourself in an unhappy and potentially volatile situation out of concern for your children, it may be better for everyone if you learn about how divorce will affect your children and actively try to minimize the negative consequences of your upcoming family changes.
What are the main negative consequences children experience after the divorce of their parents?
Parental divorce is considered an adverse childhood event, meaning it is one of the most traumatic experiences a child can have. For some children, the destabilization of their home life and the change in the relationship with their parents can lead to mental health issues.
They may develop anxiety, meaning that they worry about everything. They may develop depression, becoming disinterested and withdrawn. Identifying the warning signs that your child is struggling emotionally can help you get them the treatment that will help resolve these issues.
Children may feel guilty about their parents getting a divorce. They may also become angry and aggressive. You may notice that your child has started to break rules more or talk back to you. They may stay up late, refuse to cooperate with custody exchanges or lash out at their siblings.
Behavioral issues typically have a root either in intense emotions or psychological issues developing because of the divorce. Getting professional help from your doctor or a counselor can help you regain control when behavioral issues manifest.
Both behavioral issues and mental health issues can contribute to a child struggling at school. Some kids lose their motivation, feeling like they no longer care or understand their place in the world. Others start skipping school or hanging out with the wrong kinds of kids because they want to attract attention from the people around them or hurt themselves.
Trying to keep a focus on your children’s academic performance for at least the first year after a divorce can help ensure the disruption to your family circumstances won’t have a long-term effect on your children’s opportunities in the future.
Being conscientious and compassionate in your approach to shared custody during and after a divorce can make the process a little less painful for your children and a little easier for you.