Although the effects of divorce can be difficult for a family there is ways to help everyone cope, including the children and adults. It is very traumatic for the adults going through the process; children in the family also can have a hard time coping with divorce. I have experienced divorce and during the process my children had a difficult time coping. The children can be affected emotionally, academically and physically. The divorce process can have emotional and financial effects for the couple experiencing the divorce which can be difficult to cope with. Although the affects of divorce can be difficult for a family there are ways to help everyone cope.
Divorce can have many affects on the children in the family; children of each age group can be affected in different ways. Studies show that children involved in a divorce tend to exhibit emotional, physical, and academic problems (www.heritage.org). Children under three show the affects of divorce by becoming irritable, exhibiting separation anxiety, and by an increase in crying phases. These young children may also have sleep and gastrointestinal problems, issues with aggression and show signs of development regression. Toddlers may express the emotional affects of divorce by becoming clingy to the primary parent and having fears of abandonment along with having frequent nightmares. Children of this age often blame themselves for the divorce and separation. School-aged children will often feel rejected by the absent parent, show aggression, have an increase in temper, and begin to act out. Children of school-age seem to do poorly in reading, spelling, and math (www.heritage.org). Adolescents involved in a divorce often have relationship problems, low self-esteem. Older children may turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their feelings of depression along with exhibiting inappropriate sexual behavior, poor performance in school, and delinquent behavior.
As with the children in a family, divorce has many effects for both of the parents involved. Mothers seem to react more to the daily stressors rather than just major issues. It often seems overwhelming to me just to get through the day. Mothers often seek the help of mental health services to battle depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and overwhelming feelings. The fathers involved in a divorce are also likely to develop symptoms of depression, anxiety, and may develop a substance abuse problem. Fathers tend to feel that their children are pushing them away. Divorce can lead to long delays when it comes to the financial matters due to arguments about property division which cause large legal bills (Ransom A4). The arguments can cause both parties emotional stress; the expense of attorneys adds to the financial and emotional stress. When a divorce occurs it can cause serious hardship for both parties, with one party moving out of the martial home, a place to stay is needed which can take a toll on finances. If the couple is in financial distress prior to the divorce the division of debt can be devastating to both sides finances. Both parties now have to maintain a home and individual bills with one income only.
Divorce can disrupt parenting and discipline for both parents; children will often use one parent against the other to get what they want. It is also possible that either parent will find themselves feeling guilty thus allowing children to act out without punishment, which can cause further behavioral problems. As I am still coping with parenting after a divorce I often find myself not disciplining for unacceptable behavior which is causing bigger problems.
Although divorce can have lasting affects on family members there are ways that can help ease these. Many schools offer classes to the students which are geared towards helping them understand their feelings and also help them understand divorce. My oldest sons attended a class at his school that helped him during the divorce. This class helped him open up to me more about his feelings. Children have a hard time making sense of how they feel, how to express their feelings, and what to do about their feelings. Counseling can be beneficial to the children and parents that are dealing with a divorce, talking can aid in sorting out feelings and also to help learn ways to cope with the feelings they have. It can be a difficult task to parent during and after a divorce has taken place, this challenge can be overwhelming. Parenting classes geared toward to families of divorce can be beneficial, teaching the parents how to parent and discipline effectively.
Divorce affects everyone in a family in different ways. Learning to cope with these feelings and new hardships is a key component in the healing process. Focusing on the children and how to help them is crucial, doing this will help avoid life long battles with emotions, academics and physical issues. It is a long process to heal after a divorce has occurred but there is help that will guide everyone during this process.
Cohen, George. “Helping children and families deal with divorce and separation. (Clinical report: guidance for the clinician in rendering pediatric care).
Diana Ransom. “Family Finances: The Cost of a Marriage Breakup.