Divorce amongst couples with children has become so common that when a child says “My parents aren’t together” it isn’t quite a shock as it may have been years ago. Most of us have experienced or know someone who has experienced a divorce in their family. The divorce process within a family can have a variety of negative effects on a child. Today I'm going to explain to you the different categories that these negative effects may fall under according to the Article titled: The Psychology of Divorce: A Lawyer’s Primer, Part 2: The Effects of Divorce on Children written by: Portnoy. The first being psychological effects and the second being emotional.
There are quite a number of psychological effects that a divorce can have on the children involved. Some people, especially ones who haven’t been through the hardships of a dividing family, have the misconception that divorce is something that children have to just “get over” in order to overcome the pain it brings along with it. Actually, quite the opposite is true. When a child’s parents go through a divorce, it is a “life-transforming experience”, as the author of the article puts it, to the child involved. According to my article after 25 years of the divorce the now adult child still recalls the shock.
One of the worst experiences for a child is when they are used to carrying negative messages between the parents or encouraged to think poorly or not to have a relationship with the other parent. This can lead to the destruction of the child's image of how a relationship between mother and father works. With mother and father engaged in a constant battle, both trying to keep the child away from the other, the ability for a child to build a strong relationship with either parent is for the most part eliminated.
Another type of negative affect that divorce within the family can have on a child are ones that relate to emotions. In the beginning stages of divorce one of the first emotions that a child will face, especially among children of younger age, is confusion. Throughout the child’s life they grew up having joint parents and never thought of it any other way, suddenly they witness arguments, and eventually hear discussions of one parent moving away. With all of these changes happening at once, they struggle to make sense of it all.
As time goes by unhappiness suddenly takes over their emotions. Once the child begins to get an understanding of what is happening between his parents he begins to understand that what is happening is out of his control, thus creating a sense of sadness. As the child gets older, they may begin to feel anger. As they mature they begin to understand the conflicts behind the divorce and may begin to side with one parent over the other, causing them to feel anger towards the other. Another reason for a child to feel anger is because some of them tend to blame themselves for the split and feel angry toward themselves
This topic is significant to me personally because my parents split up when I was around 9 years old. I went through the same emotional and psychological roller coaster that Portnoy explained many children must face at an early age, just as I did. These are only a few of the many emotional and psychological effects that a divorce amongst the parents of a young child can have on him or her.
Divorce has a very dramatic effect on the lives of the children involved, despite what some people may think, it is a drastically life changing struggle and can very well carry on into adulthood. Hopefully if you are someone who has not been through a divorce among the family, you now have a little more insight into how this misfortune affects the lives of children.