Negative Effects of Divorce on Children
Divorce has a strong negative effect on children. The children are brought into the family and then ripped out of what they know is right or of their norms. James M. Henslin defines the family as being two or more people who consider themselves related by blood, marriage, or adoption (445). When married you are instantaneously put into a family.
When two people decide to get a divorce, their children do not wholly understand what is going on. "Regardless of their age, children usually blame themselves when their parents divorce" (Bankston 382). They don't understand their parents anger at each other, so they believe this is happening because of something they have done. This is why parents need to open up and see that it is not just about themselves, but it is also about the welfare of their children.
Children of any age have difficulty expressing hurt feelings and sadness to parents who are themselves angry and grieving. Responsible parents will develop a parenting plan that coordinates visitation, maintains financial obligations, and takes time to deal with children's feelings in each state of the divorce process (Bankston 382).
These parents need to take the initiative and explain to the children what is happening. Also they need to meet the needs of the children, before themselves, to prevent further psychological damage to the kids.
When divorced, the children go through many emotional changes. "Children of divorce are more depressed and aggressive toward parents and teachers than are youngsters from intact families. They are much more likely to develop mental and emotional disorders later on in life" (Leo 2000). Children and teenagers have a hard time adjusting to the loss of one member. They tend to blame themselves and this stress eats at
them, which causes pain and trouble later.
Some other downfalls, to the children of divorced parents, would be they start engaging in sexual activity sooner, are more likely to have children out of wedlock, are less likely to marry, and if they marry, are more likely to get divorced. They are likelier to abuse drugs, turn to crime, and commit suicide (Leo 2000). These are all unfortunate incidences that could have been lessened or even prevented. When Henslin stated that the family consists of two or more people, this is still true for after the divorce. Henslin gives great points when helping children adjust to divorce.
The adjustment is better if (1) both parents show understanding and affection; (2) the child lives with a parent who is making a good adjustment; (3) family routines are consistent; (4) the family has adequate money for its needs; and (5) that the child lives with a parent of the same sex (466).
When the parents show love and affection toward the children, their welfare is better in the long run. These examples are only of the physical and emotional changes. Let's take a look at...