Blog 86. Divorce: Divorce Can Have Long-Term Effects On Children.
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One very sad consequence of any divorce is the children, who are often emotionally pulled apart as; they watch a parent leave the family home; or if they have to choose one parent over the other; or if they are told that they will have to live with their grandparents for whatever reason and so on.
Divorce can therefore wreak havoc not only on the parents but also on their children’s lives. And children are often also burdened with the knowledge that unlike many of their friend’s parents, their own parent’s marriage has failed. As a result, they can get burdened with many questions from their friends that they themselves may find hard to answer. This could lead to them being teased or even bullied.
Yet children are often left to wonder if they could have done something to save their parent’s marriage or whether it was their fault that their parents separated. Even years later, the same questions may still hover, leaving many to continue feeling that they were to blame. And feeling guilt or blame, children can then land up punishing themselves in all sorts of ways – and this can continue right into adulthood.
As a result of any divorce, parents are often so busy dealing with their own emotions, and this along with all the practical implications that divorce can bring, they can easily forget that especially if their children are young – that they may not have developed appropriate or even mature emotional language and therefore, they may be unable to express their true feelings or emotions fully. Children therefore, often experience all sorts of feelings that parents may be surprised to know – if they’d only realised.
Children can experience terrible anxiety and stress, along with enormous loss and grief as they witness a beloved parent pack their bags and leave. This can bring on a mixture of feelings that if not understood or expressed – can fester for many years to come.
And a change of circumstances can have other consequences too. A child may never see the other parent, ever again, which could lead to a child having abandonment and trust issues with regards adults or authority figures.
However, most children of divorced parents usually see the other parent every two weeks, over a weekend. This can cause disruption in their normal routine and extra anxiety if a child looks forward to seeing a parent, yet knowing that at the end of the weekend, they will have to say goodbye again. This can create a lot of trauma and sadness for a child, especially if they feel close and also feel they need that parent.
Also, if parents are not aware of what their children may be going through emotionally and if they then blame the other parent for the situation the family finds itself in, this could create long-term resentments toward both parents.
This resentment could be twofold:
1) Resentment can build up towards the parent who leaves and,
2) Resentment can build towards a parent, for staying and doing seemingly nothing to keep the other parent from leaving.
Although this may not be true for the adults involved, many children experience and perceive this – no matter how false it may prove to be.
But also, if one parent begins to turn their children against the other, this could provide further problems and it could even bite them on the bottom, years later. They may get blamed for persuading a child to feel dislike and even possibly hatred but also guilt, for being forced to choose one parent over the other. This then could lead to further friction between a child and a parent.
Divorce is never an easy an easy option.
Sadly, many may find that their financial situation has to change as well. This can have repercussions for the children too: They may have to change schools, they may have to learn to live with less and they may have to learn to live with only one parent. This can result in the single parent constantly feeling tired and stressed as they try to make ends meet. Consequently, there may be less attention from a parent and less fun to be had by all.
Unfortunately, this experience may cause a child to either repeat ‘what they know’ in adult life or they may become wary of relationships.
Kate Chisman once wrote, “We ruined each other by being together. We destroyed each others dreams. And we destroyed our children’s dreams too.”
This is why I urge you all to think ever so carefully before you get married. What seems wonderful in the beginning can turn sour very quickly, especially if you haven’t done your homework and learnt to ask the right questions, before you make the ever important decision in your life – a decision that may effect more than just you.
© 2017 Deidré Wallace All rights reserved.
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