When a couple gets divorced, the process can be hard on everyone, especially children. This experience can be confusing and scary when it’s all a child has ever known. For the parents, it can be difficult to see their child suffering. However, to help their child cope through this difficult time, parents need to understand how divorce affects their child.
Common Effects of Divorce on Children
Each child will react differently to divorce, but generally, the following effects are commonly reported.
Physical Health Problems
Often, people think about divorce affecting the child emotionally, but it can also be detrimental to their physical health as well. A study found that children whose parents divorced were more likely to gain weight than those whose parents had stayed together. Additionally, children from divorced homes get sick more frequently and for longer amounts of time than children from non-divorced homes.
Children of divorce of more likely to have an increase in behavioral issues if there is any kind of conflict in the family. Because parents are preoccupied with their own issues, they neglect their child’s needs. Parents will give them less affection and are more likely to punish them. For the child, this can leave them feeling emotionally insecure.
Children struggle to cope with these feelings and will start a conflict with others and engage in destructive behaviors. They will be more likely to fight other children in school, and they are more likely to engage in destructive activities like turning to drugs, alcohol, crime, and early sexual activity.
Children from divorced homes are more likely to have problems in school. Since the child is so wrapped up in the problems of their home life, they stop engaging in their school work, which results in their grades dropping. Additionally, children of divorce are more likely to get held back a grade and are less likely to graduate from high school.
How to Help a Child Cope With Divorce
The effects of divorce on children can be concerning, but parents can reduce them in a few ways.
Children benefit from maintaining a relationship with both parents. However, when those parents cannot get along, the child suffers. Many of the effects seen above can stem from a child’s parents engaging in conflict. Therefore, parents mustn’t fight in front of their children to mitigate these risks.
Check on Them
Children can feel neglected during this time. Parents need to talk to their children about how they are feeling and address any concerns the child might have. They might feel like they are the cause of the divorce and that their parents don’t love them anymore. Parents need to reassure their children that this is not the case.
Work with a Therapist
A family therapist can be beneficial in helping not only the parents but their children as well. Therapy allows everyone to speak about their feelings in a safe space. Additionally, a therapist will be able to offer guidance on how to handle difficult situations. Family therapy can be done together, separate, or even both. Allowing the child to talk to a therapist alone, can be beneficial because they can speak about all of their feelings without thinking they will hurt their parents.
Need Help With Your Divorce?
It is clear that divorce is not easy for parents or their children. However, depending on the situation, it can be the best choice to make. If you have decided to get a divorce, our firm is here to help you. At DeTommaso Law Group, LLC, our New Jersey family lawyers have the skills and experience to get you the results you need.
Call us today at (908) 274-3028 for help with your divorce.