Divorce among Americans is rampant. Anymore, divorces are as common as marriages themselves. Couples marry and then something goes wrong in their relationship, so they divorce. Although a divorce may be hard on the adults involved, what about the children? What happens to the kids of these broken marriages?
Some parents who are going through a divorce wonder what the effects of their divorce will be on their children. They worry that the divorce will cause their children emotional problems that will affect them for the rest of their lives. These worries are not unreasonable. Depending on the age of the child, the effects of divorce can vary.
Small children do not understand what is happening at all. They can’t comprehend why Mommy and Daddy do not live together anymore. Sometimes small children are afraid that if Daddy doesn’t live with them anymore, then Mommy might leave too.
Some small children may revert to less mature behavior. A child may start to use a pacifier again, or a child that has been potty trained may begin to have multiple "accidents."
Children who are a little older and in the beginning years of school (6 to 8 years old} usually respond to their parents divorce with grief. They tend to cry a lot. These children, no matter what their previous relationship with the absent parent was, feel a great sense of loss for this parent.
The absent parent, though not always, is usually the father. These young children usually begin to idolize their father because they see him less often. Visits with him are usually thought of as "vacations." Children in the early years of school tend to take their anger about the divorce out on their mother. Most of the time they blame the mother for the separation.
These children also tend to fantasize about Mom and Dad getting back together. They believe that if they "misbehave," Mom and Dad will have to get back together in order to control their behavior.
Children in the upper grades of elementary school (9 to 12 years of age) are a little more mature than the younger children and usually understand at least some of the reasons for a divorce. These kids usually try to make the best of their situation.
These older children sometimes try to hide their feelings about the divorce from the custodial parent. They feel the need to comfort this parent because they can see this parent’s stress...