Chicago Divorce Lawyer THE IMPACT THAT DIVORCE HAS ON CHILDREN

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A great deal of upheaval usually results as families go through divorce and separation. Contrary to what many parents may think of as an issue solely between them, divorce has been found to have far-reaching impacts on the entire family unit.. Children, especially, are vulnerable to negative psychological effects that result from their parents’ divorce. These effects vary and can be broadly categorized according to the age group of the children involved.



The age group that often suffers more during divorce is that of children in preschool. This can be attributed to their lack of developed coping skills and immaturity. Children of this age often exhibit a regression in behavioral milestones that have already been achieved. For example, they will go back to wetting and soiling their clothes, engaging in baby talk, social withdrawal and clinging.



Slightly older children of about 6-8years show open grief for the absence of the parent who no longer lives with them. They often indulge themselves in replacement fantasies as they fail to comprehend that the divorce situation is permanent. The fantasies will often be based on the situation being reversed in the not-too-distant future.





On their side, children who are about 8-11 years often experience feelings of fury and powerlessness. They react by labeling each of the parents as either good or bad. Moreover, these children end up putting their own needs on hold so as to care for a parent.



Adolescence is perhaps the age bracket that is greatest hit by the effects of divorce. Adolescents whose families go through divorce show a tendency to get acutely depressed and suicidal ideations. As they are more mature, they tend to mainly question the moral issues arising from the divorce. They then judge their parents’ conduct and choices. In addition, adolescents are predisposed to question their future relationships in terms of love and marriage. This is due to the fact that they wonder whether their character and decisions will reflect those of their parents.



A robust support system is needed if the worst of these consequences of divorce are to be avoided by the affected children. The custodial parent should be emotionally stable so as to act as an anchor for the children and help them move on faster. The parent who retains custody of the children must not try and turn the children against the parent who has left so as to prevent them from experiencing the psychological pressures that result from this. The parent who no longer lives with the children should be left to have quality time with the children, where this is possible. This enables the children to gain valuable lessons by having a close relationship with both parents. Also, the children’s school should be alerted on the divorce so as to be able to make available an efficient school-based support system.




No doubt, divorce has its downside. However, all efforts must be made to shield children from its ugly effects as much as possible. What is important is that they understand that even with their parents being divorced, they can still form lasting parent-child bonds with them.


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