Divorce effects on children are harmful. I watched my children go through my divorce. I saw the pain on my son's face when we told him what was happening.
My daughter did not understand at first, she was just 7, and I am not sure she ever grieved. I do know that she attached rather quickly to her mother's new boyfriend, and suffered when that relationship crashed and burned. The stress for them was obvious.
My son, who is five years older, struggled a bit...contemplated some acting out behaviors, even had the passing suicidal thought, so he has told me, but did not indulge the behaviors or the suicide. So, we can see that with divorce, the risk of psychological and behavioral problems is increase.
For a couple of years I was not too available to them emotionally, because of my grief, and the economic impact of the divorce for me. I was preparing for retirement, and downsizing my business, when the recession hit, and sped the downsizing up rapidly, much more rapidly than I intended, and then I was in divorce court.
However, my children have come through those difficult days and are doing quite well in terms of their lives.
Their mother and I made a concerted effort not to put the children into a place where they had to chose.one or the other of us, and they were not impacted economically because their mother's business was doing quite well, so they had the basics and extras.
If mom and dad make a reasonable effort to manage the stress of divorce, most children do not develop the serious long lasting emotional and behavioral problems. Those children are resilient, and come through the divorce transition as just kids.
Most children whose parents divorce suffer to some degree because mom and dad blame the other, and if mom is the custodial parent, she may not have the earning power of dad, so the children's safety and security is impacted as well.
Depending on the age of the children, for kids under three, attachment processes are impeded, which will impact all future relationships..
Another important divorce effect on even the resilient children are painful memories, and worries about divorce.
Please remember that pain is not pathology, and grief is not a mental disorder. Children need to grieve, and there is a great deal you can do to promote their well-being.
Look here for more resources on the effects of divorce on children, and how you can help.
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