For many couples, divorce is the best solution for their futures. While numerous couples struggle with financial issues, infidelity or substance abuse, many couples simply grow apart and wish to end the marriage. Unfortunately, even the best decisions can have negative repercussions.
Depending on their age and maturity, children of divorce can react in significantly different ways. From blaming themselves for any perceived upheaval to subjecting the family to various forms of parental alienation, reactions can be varied. Experts agree, however, that there are generally three main categories of risk that divorced parents need to be on the alert for:
- Mental health risks: Certain studies have shown that children of divorce might face a higher risk for mental health problems later in life. While accounting for age, gender and cultural differences, researchers noted that divorce could trigger adjustment disorders in children that could ultimately manifest as depression or anxiety.
- Behavior risks: The children of divorce might be more prone to impulse control issues. This can lead to engaging in risky behaviors including sexual activity, criminal activity and substance abuse. These risky behaviors could also lead to additional conflicts with peers and former friends resulting in a spiral of personal issues.
- Academic performance risks: Children of divorce might exhibit issues with attention or concentration. This could lead to problems with academic performance such as paying attention in class and completing assignments on time. Ultimately, a child’s grades will suffer.
In no way does this research state that a divorce will absolutely damage your child’s growth and maturity. It is merely a cautionary tale suggesting that children cope with the change in the family’s structure in different ways. Divorced parents must be aware of these risks and take steps to prevent them. Meaningful communication, honest conversations and paying special attention to your children even when facing seemingly insurmountable stress is crucial during and after the divorce.