How Divorce Impacts Children

Sad kid sitting on floor.

Divorce poses a lot of life changes for the whole family. Parents have to learn new ways of communicating with their ex while also maintaining stable relationships with their children. Some children will understand why their parents want a divorce, especially if they are older. However, some children will have a more challenging time with the transition.

While the impacts of divorce are not necessarily life-long, it is important to notice them within your children. Being aware of how the change impacts them will help you take the necessary steps to assist them. These impacts are not universal to every child but are common in many cases of divorce.

1. They Feel Angry or Guilty

Feelings of anger and guilt are common in children that experience a divorce. Parents separating is overwhelming and traumatic to some children, which results in feelings of anger or irritability. They may begin to act out at school towards their friends or teachers and even display anger at their parents. However, feelings of anger typically wane in the weeks after divorce as long as the children have support.

While children may experience anger, this connects to feelings of guilt. Kids will search for a reason why this is happening to their families. Sometimes, they will conclude that the divorce is somehow their fault. While this is certainly not true, these feelings of guilt can have severe impacts on children. Counseling and communication with your children can help them understand complex events like divorce.

2. They Struggle In School

Significant life changes like divorce are thought-consuming for the children involved. This means that when they attend school, children can become easily distracted. Pair distractions with intense feelings of anger or guilt, and their academic performance will ultimately suffer. Studies have found that children of divorce have a higher chance of dropping out than their peers.

You may first notice that your child’s grades are slipping or that they don’t take part in after-school activities anymore. Don’t brush this off as a one-time occurrence. Make sure that they have the tools to handle the divorce adequately.

3. They Are Socially Withdrawn

Along with struggling in school, you might notice that your child does not participate in social activities anymore. For example, maybe they have stopped talking to their close friends or attending family gatherings. You might also notice that your once social child has become more shy and anxious in general.

Divorce is an isolating and confusing time for children. It is hard for them to understand why separation is happening. In addition, if they blame themselves for the event, they may also have a low self-image, impacting their social abilities.

4. They Experience More Health Issues

When a body is under immense amounts of stress, it is more susceptible to sickness. If your children are experiencing stress concerning divorce, you may notice physical symptoms as well. For example, one reason that children become sick during divorce is a lack of sleep at night. They may have difficulties sleeping due to their feelings and thoughts. When the body does not get enough sleep, it will eventually break down.

5. They Lose Their Faith

After a child’s parents’ divorce, they may also lose their trust in the family unit. Studies have found that children of divorce are more likely to get divorced themselves. This is linked to the trauma and experiences they might have suffered during their parents’ divorce. Not every child of divorce will end their marriage, but it is more common.

What You Can Do

It is important to note that not every divorce will result in these impacts on children. However, there are methods of making divorce an easier transition for everyone involved. First, make sure that you collaboratively approach your split, communicating openly and kindly with your spouse. Second, let your kids repeatedly know that the divorce is not their fault to alleviate feelings of anger or guilt. Finally, make sure your child is set up with a counselor to assist in processing emotions.

If you are having a difficult time with your divorce and are worried about your children, contact Law Offices of William L. Geary today at (614) 289-1227 to speak with our expert divorce attorneys.

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