They in fact go through the same reactions as parents, such as denial, reconciliation fantasies, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, depression, boredom, irritability, intense sorrow, low self-esteem, and feelings of helplessness. They balk at discipline. Toddlers may become clingy, withdrawn, may regress, or become demanding and possessive. PRE-SCHOOLERS: If the parent/child relationship is too close, a teen may have difficulty leaving home; Particularly boys blame a single mother and perceive her as less authoritative than father. The child may withdraw from both parents not wanting to alienate either one. If the custodial parent is depressed or preoccupied, a child may feel deep deprivation, neglect, and resentment.
If living with the opposite sex parent, boys may adopt the father's role and girls become a homemaker to dad. Schoolwork may suffer, and some act out aggressively, promiscuously, or with delinquent behavior. BABIES: If over-protected, they may behave more infantile. The school-age child may insist all is fine. Regression is a normal reaction for the pre-school child for a few months. Some children feel frightened and unprotected without their father, and either try to assume his role or become too fearful to function normally. The divorce effects on children will vary by their age and developmental stage. While it may seem that babies handle divorce the best, they still react to the new family dynamics by regressing in their behavior. At the other end of the spectrum are teenagers, who may seem aloof to the whole situation but secretly hiding their pain and distress. To help you understand the various reactions your children may be exhibiting, read the following article by Darlene Lancer. by Darlene Lancer, JD, MFTChildren intuitively know that there are problems in a marriage, sometimes despite their parents' best efforts to hide them. Other preschoolers may feel responsible for the divorce and thus try to behave perfectly. They may feel intense anger and vengeful towards one parent, and act out with tantrums and problems in school. To compensate, the child may demand material things, start lying and/or become possessive. Some children feel unloved, need constant reassurance, and attach to non-parental figures, like teachers.
However, they do not share their parents' need to separate, but on the contrary, need both parents. When children suddenly are made responsible for their parent, themselves, or younger siblings, they feel cheated of a childhood. They may even believe divorce is a welcome relief from their parents' hot or cold war. Even babies may evidence depression from inattention or from fear that the custodial parent will also leave. Becoming more restrictive and overprotective promotes more infantile behavior and defiance. Pre-teens may worry constantly about money, may have to work, or be put in the middle asking the non-custodial parent for money. The child may appease the custodial parent by not expressing anger about the divorce or by refusing to see the other parent. They may yearn for male company, avoid and blame their mothers. Longer periods signal more marital dysfunction. Children assuming adult responsibilities at this age may feel guilty when they want to be with their friends and a sense of failure for not being able to fulfill their parent's needs. She helps couples work through relationship issues and coaches individuals dealing with divorce, addiction, codependency, and more. The following articles can give you more insight on divorce effects on children and how you can help them cope with the changes: - Legal information is not legal advice
Others may experience extreme sadness and longing for the non-custodial parent.
To avoid their pain, some teenagers act out delinquently, promiscuously, abuse substances, or withdraw from friends. They fantasize disaster, can't concentrate and forget things. Children continuously placed in the middle carry their parents' anger, and can become suicidal. Both may have difficulty learning their sex role if estranged from the same sex parent. They might act pseudo-mature, then regress to childish behavior and seek younger friends. They even may make up stories about seeing that parent. Anger, sulking, petulance, whining, and bossing are typical and may be directed at peers, toys, or themselves. GRADE SCHOOL: Girls may be jealous of their father's partners and refuse to stay overnight. TEENAGERS: Allowing a child to act his or her age and encouraging contact with the father or other male adult is reassuring. PRETEENS: Teens also become money conscious particularly if they miss out on college, and may become resentful and/or manipulate parents to their advantage. All these reactions are ameliorated by their understanding the reasons for the divorce and having a safe place to express their feelings, by regular, frequent contact with the non-custodial parent, and by the parents' acceptance of the divorce and resolution of conflict without placing the children in the middle.
Darlene Lancer is a former attorney and mediator who has been a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist for over 20 years. If they're abandoned or rejected by the absent parent, they may withdraw from their social life or hide their sadness with anger. Effects of divorce on children essay.