Divorce is the formal termination of a valid marriage between living spouses. Influence of divorce of parents on the psychological state of children and their future life cannot be underestimated. The situation of divorce in the family causes great harm to the mental health of a child, that cannot be divided from the father or the mother. Therefore, the most painful divorce is not for adults but for children, for whom divorce is a tragic incident, akin to the loss of a loved one. The result of divorce is not only stressful for couples, but also has a long and traumatic impact on the child’s psyche. The purpose of the paper is to analyze the effects of divorce on children, both positive and negative and conclude the overall impact of divorce on kids.
Effects of Divorce on Children
Psychological implications of divorce on family
Sociological and psychological analysis of the problems of divorce to a certain extent is the analysis of the problems of marriage, mainly its negative sides. The truth is that the society is interested in that there were fewer divorces and family and marriage relations developed normally and improved. Divorce in any case demonstrates the fragility and destruction of family ties and, therefore, cannot objectively be regarded as a positive phenomenon same as its implications on family members, especially on children.
The most common family problems begin long before the divorce. They are lasting for a long time, sometimes for several years growing into marital conflict. In general, conflicts are an integral part of any family life, because a man and a woman were brought up in different families and will always have some discrepancy in their way of life. And only in the conflict the common positions can be clarified so that people adapt to one another and thus form the basis for a strong family to combine own lifestyles in effective and aligned manner. When the conflicts lead to divorce, everything becomes more complicated. Of course, in the hostilities there may be a cease-fire, and these are the cases where the warring parties are able to at least agree to go to a family psychologist-counselor. However, more often it is absolutely impossible for them to function and children overtake the role of peacemakers. For children, mom and dad are the most important and favorite people in the world, but together they are enemies and that engenders cognitive dissonance in children. Child does nice for mother if agrees that dad is bad. At the same time, child does good for dad when agrees with him that the mother is bad. And children cannot avoid doing that because they are entirely dependent on parents. In what the child might have to see the way out? There are several ways, one of which is to diminish the sense of own usefulness. The common way of thinking is: “If I can not help to reconcile mom and dad and if I cannot do good thing to mother so as not to offend my father, then I am bad and something is wrong in me”. Another way is to get from this situation at least some benefit, most often it is material one. The typical thinking is “Your war is your business, but I need you to buy me something I want”. And even a child can learn how to open and manipulate the parents and make them compete who will give more.
There is one special aspect in the situation. People can live together for many years “for the sake of the children”, but they may not try to find a common understanding with each other and continue to despise each other. The long-term consequences for children who have grown up in such families are not better than the for children of divorced parents.
Divorces have powerful negative effect on children and positive effects on kids are an exception. This exception may be in cases where the children in the family suffered from constant conflicts and bickering of parents sometimes even including physical violence. Family atmosphere before the divorce is horrendous. If a divorce ends a long period of fighting, heavy experiences, it may have even a positive effect. Some of the children indicated that they experienced divorce easier than its predecessors conflicts as before divorce they were afraid of physical violence, parental ashamed scandals and children worried too much about alternate quarrels and reconciliations of parents. In such circumstances divorce brings certain relief. In general, divorce can play a positive role only if it leads to a real solution of the problem and if it promotes emotional growth and “moral revival” of both spouses and their children.
Most divorced parents find strange or negative changes in the behavior of their children. The most common complaints are about distraction. The child is always within himself, he does not hear and does not see others. It is a violation of attention precisely as a consequence of the stress that the child had during divorce and emotional break of the parents. However, not all parents see the relationship between changes in the behavior of the child and their divorce. In reality, children are experiencing separation of parents in extremely acute way, and if the former husband and wife may find divorce desirable, necessary and calmly perceived action, then, for a child who sees the separation mom and dad, it is completely different, terrible thing.
In the short term the stress of parents’ divorce is manifested in the child a sense of helplessness and loss of integrity of the family and anger because of the inability to influence the situation. In the long term, the rupture of relations between parents can seriously affect the child’s ability in the future to establish a family, as a child watching a divorce is often afraid of a repetition of such a scenario in his or her own life.
Additionally, as a rule, the father starts to live separately. The father ceases to communicate with the child often enough. This is facilitated by the experience of both mother and father. Mother is afraid of losing the love of a child. She brings the child up, and scolds, if necessary, and the father comes once a week, gives presents and allows everything. For her own peace of mind, mother will hinder the child’s communication with the father. Moreover, she can manipulate her power to decide whether they will meet in order to obtain some benefit from the former spouse. That creates a dissonance in child regarding the attitude to parents and forming the view of wife and husband in a family and their roles.
Thus, we see long-term consequences of divorce for children: at least a violation of a sense of their own identity and the inability to build a long-term partnership relations with the opposite sex. Additionally, parental divorce, as an early and very powerful psychic trauma, with which a person cannot cope in the absence of aid will necessarily lead to strong distortions in the development of the child’s personality, that will make it much more vulnerable to injury or loss in the hereafter.
Any child feels very well the condition of the father and mother. However, if parents can limit the fighting actions in the presence of a child, or at least not tell the child bad things about his or her other parent, then it is much better, because it is easier for the child, and also because it is at least some agreement between parents.
A child needs to know why the divorce took place. For him or her it is very important to know that there is no his or her guilt in the divorce. For a child, it is equally important that the father will always remain his dad, and the mother will love the kid, despite the fact that they live separately. It is also important that the child will talk with both of them. With a child it is necessary to talk about the causes of divorce as much as he or she will ask.
Additionally, in the case of divorce, if the children of preschool or school age, parent should not radically change their habitual way of life, that is, to change the kindergarten or school, since maintaining the usual way of life of the child can alleviate worries and stress.
No child will be happy, when his father and mother are no longer in love with each other and separate. There are many negative effects such as loss of belief in own future happy family, stress, experience of long and quarrelsome pre-divorce period, loss of self-confidence etc. The only positive effect can be only if divorce marks the end of physical violence of psychological oppression of parents. It is always necessary to understand when people are on the verge of divorce, but they still can stop it. If the parents are aware that they are not being spouses, they still continue to be mom and dad and they will become allies in matters of education of the child. However, it is important to avoid conflicts and divorces as it may lead to irreversible damage to child’s psychics. Therefore, promotion of benevolent family based on feelings of love, respect and friendship of all its members is a major social concern and objective.