Divorce has continued to be a topical subject of discussion, especially in the discipline of psychology. This is primarily because of the lasting effects this formal action seems to have on the family; both the parents and, particularly, the children.
Worthy of note is that divorce, as well as the processes involved during and after the eventual legal signing off of the divorce documents, also seems to have life-changing effects on certain areas of the life of the children affected (Arkowitz & Lilienfeld, 2013).
The divorced parents would have to unequivocally devise new ways of relating to each other, and also with their children. As a result, this often has a significant impact on the mental states of the children (Morin, 2019). Divorce is said to invariably lead to anxiety, depression, drug abuse, and other related mental conditions.
In this essay, our aim will be to briefly examine some effects of parental divorce on children, generally. These effects shall be further classified into four, namely:
3. Behavioral, and
4. Health problems
Consequently, this classification would invariably help us to better grasp the whole idea of divorce as well as the determining impacts it may seem to have on the children of the divorcees across different levels in the long run.
In this section, we’ll be examining two of the major psychological issues divorce can cause the children.
The first is depression (and/or anxiety). Children of divorced parents usually also have to deal with a lot of the stress of divorce, especially when it’s a really tough one (involving legal proceedings on child custody and so on) (Fagan & Churchill, 2012). This, in the long run, often affects the children and causes them to feel dejected. As a result, they become sad and may become weighed down by the resulting activities of the divorce that they have to experience.
The second is the loss of interest. Children with divorced parents begin to lose interest in a lot of social activities. This pushes them to become misanthropic; with the constant unwillingness to make friends or meet new people. It also often leads to other social conditions that limit a lot of their abilities, if care is not taken.
This psychological state also often pushes the children to substance abuse (Elliot & Richards, 1991; Department of Justice Canada, 1997; Needle, Su, & Doherty, 1990). In turn, this may also result in destructive behaviours that can affect the social abilities of the children.
Parental divorce also has a great impact on the emotional state of the children. It brings about feelings of loss, pain, anxiety, anger, confusion, and a lot of emotional states (Furstenberg, & Harris, 1992).
Children often also develop a feeling of guilt. The guilt that they are the cause of their parent’s divorce. They often observe the fall in the relationship or closeness between their parents as well as how the love may seem to gradually wane between them over time and immediately conclude they’re the cause.
The divide in emotional attention between the two parents can also affect the psychological and/or behavioural health of the children, pushing them to find solace in drugs and other mentally damaging addictions (Fagan & Churchill, 2012).
Anger for a lot of factors may also be developed in children. Children that are trying to process parental divorce tend to develop anger issues, against their friends, parents, and other family members. This anger may dissipate after a while but often last longer than expected.
Divorce has the ability to affect the focus and behaviour of the children of divorced parents. For example, children who are processing divorce have been said to exhibit poor academic performances. Children who are trying to get used to parental separation and divorce will be left distracted. In fact, they usually lose interest in doing their school work and this can eventually cause them to fail in their academic work (Elliot & Richards, 1991).
The children may also develop rebellious behaviours that often lead them to take risks and commit serious crimes that can put them in jail. Research has been able to suggest that children who have experienced divorce usually have the propensity to commit crimes more (Forehand, 1987). Drug crimes, murder, physical aggression towards others, and suicide are some behavioural tendency that comes as a result of parental divorce (Hansen, 2013).
Health Problems are also one of the effects of parental divorce on children. In the long run, as a result of the overwhelming state the children have to go through, they might also, after some time, develop health issues like PTSD, stroke, and so on. Children of divorced parents also run a higher risk of premature death (Fagan & Churchill, 2012).