The psychological impact of divorce is a real, although intangible, thing. Not only does it impact the couple going through the divorce, but it affects the children and extended family as well. No one gets married thinking it will end in divorce. When it does, the impact is complicated by the notion that divorce is not supposed to be happening in the first place.
As we said, divorce affects all members of the family and extended family. Most of the time, those effects are not positive. Let’s take a look:
When parents split up, the psychological impact of divorce on the children is extensive. In a sense, the children are divorcing as well. Their lives will change and be split between two households who most likely still don’t agree with one another. Most often this all leads to a decline in the parent/child relationship.
Children of divorc0ed parents show a pronounced lack of support. They receive less emotional and financial support, as well as just general help from their parents. Children from divorced homes exhibit signs of decreased language stimulation, pride, affection, academic achievement, social maturity and warmth. These things are significant contributors to the character and personality of the adult that child becomes.
The psychological impact of divorce on the mother/child relationship is apparent. Children of divorced mothers come from poorer homes. Despite their best efforts, divorced moms just cannot provide the emotional support that a child needs. It has been noted that children whose parents go through a divorce while they are aged birth to 4 years old show a more shallow level of trust for their mothers.
Fathers, especially non-custodial ones, do not tend to have good relationships with their children. Because fathers are less nurturing by nature, they tend to drift away from younger child after a divorce. 90% of non-residential parents are fathers. This makes it very difficult for them to maintain a close relationship with their children. Divorce causes an emotional conflict and divide that has a significant psychological impact on children.
Paternal grandparents tend to bear the brunt of the negative psychological impact of divorce. Much of the time, they cease to see their grandchildren at all due to the decline of the father/child relationship.
Even if parents hold things together until their children are grown and out of the house, there are still repercussions. Adult children still experience the psychological impact of divorce. This can often manifest in their own relationships. The adult children of divorced parents may also fear the commitment of marriage as it could result in divorce like their parents. It’s a bad situation all the way around.
There’s no doubt that the psychological impact of divorce exists. There’s not way to avoid it becoming evident for your children, but you can minimize the impact:
Divorce doesn’t have to destroy your children. In the end, we as parents are responsible for the psychological impact of divorce on our kids. Tell us about your good choices and tips in the comments!