Divorce of a couple living together for some time, having a common house, household and children, has always been a spiritual wound and nervous feeling for both sides. But how painful is this for the third side their children? What are Effects of divorce on children? Fights and quarrels alongside with dissatisfaction absorb adults so often that they even do not notice how their children suffer from their divorce .
Parents are under great delusion when they think, that their small children understand nothing. Children have close links with their parents, as their nervous system, brain and memory are extremely sensitive to all surrounding information. That is why parents should keep their eyes on children and take notice of changes in their behavior and mood. Divorce is tough for everyone involved, including kids. Let us look at feelings of children who have overcome break-up of their parents.
Usually children have the following feelings in different combinations and orders:
A child feels that the world he is used to is being ruined. He realizes that one of the parents does not live with him any longer. Then the child is seized with sorrow and in some cases this feeling can develop into deep depression. Especially this happens if the child was very close to the parent, who left the house. The child has a sudden attack of loss of parent's love. It seems to him that he has lost everything: safety, joy of life and happy future. Make sure your child understands that divorce is only between adults. The parent who has stayed with the child has to assure him that despite the fact that parents do not live together they love him very much.
After some time of being sad, the child starts feeling anger, as he understands all irreversibility of the situation and uselessness of his attempts to reconcile his parents. Anger can be directed to one of the parents or to both of them. In some cases, for example, the child strongly attached to his father starts hating him because his has left the family. The child considers the deed of the father a betrayal and reacts to this with categoricalness so characteristic of children. In other situations, it is mother who is the object of anger, as the child has stayed with her and thinks that the father had to leave because of her. In all situations fits of anger change into disappointment, as now the child understands, that he will attract less attention from the parent, who left the family.
Very often besides feeling of anger, the child starts feeling guilty, as, by mistake, he concludes that the divorce of his parents is punishment for his bad behavior. If the father or mother has left, therefore, it is my fault, Something is wrong with me I am bad. In this case self-appraisal of the child is going down, he feels guilty. He is plunged in analysis of his behavior and afterwards this can change his future behavior: either for the better or for the worse. The positive effect can be attained when the child becomes well-wishing, avoids conflicts and tries to be kind sincerely. The negative effect becomes apparent if the child loses self-confidence, or starts feeling defective and this can cause some negative changes in his character. The main task for the parent is to assure the child that their divorce is not his fault.
When the child is faced with the fact of divorce and changes in the usual lifestyle, he can feel fear and anxiety alongside with feelings described above. He is concerned in the following questions: what will happen to him; how he is going to live with one of the parents; does he have to move to a new place, change his kindergarten or school, leave his friends, and give up his favorite hobbies. All these questions torment the child and he becomes anxious. If the child is small, alongside with these problems he can feel fear that the second parent he has been left with can also leave and then he will stay totally alone. Such fears and worries disturb children a lot and can be the reason of serious changes in their behavior.
Aggression can be a result of serious spiritual wounds when children realize their powerlessness in the existing situation. They understand that they can change nothing and look for the outlet for their emotions that becomes apparent in aggressive behavior.
No matter if there is a negative reaction or isn't, you have to support and help your child to cope with the fact of your divorce. In very difficult cases, it is better to turn to the child psychologist or adviser in family questions.