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Effects of Divorce on Children’s Mental Health

By June 8, 2021 No Comments
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About 39% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. No matter how unfortunate, divorce is more common than most people care to admit. When marriages dissolve, all members of the family are affected. However, children are often hit harder. 

When a marriage ends, parents often wonder how the divorce will affect their child’s mental health. Some may be tempted to stay together for the sake of their children. When a divorce is the only option, parents can do their best by helping their children get through it. Even when dealing with the stresses of custody, living arrangements, and finances, parents must protect their children from emotional and mental trauma during a divorce.

The First Year Is the Hardest

The first year of divorce is the hardest one for children. Studies suggest that children are most likely to struggle while they try to adjust to the divorce. In the first 2 years, they may struggle with anxiety, disbelief, and anger. However, most of them bounce back soon after. 

They become comfortable with the changes in their routine and get accustomed to their new living situations. A small percentage, however, experiences long-term stress, which they can work through in therapy. 

The Emotional Effects of Divorce

When going through a divorce, most children feel scared and frustrated. Life as they know it changes, and they don’t understand why. Younger children don’t understand why they can’t see both parents every day and why they must switch between two homes. They get concerned that their parents may not love them anymore. 

Older children may think that the divorce was their fault. They worry that they may have done something wrong to cause it. Most teenagers get angry when their parents are going through a divorce. They are resistant to the changes and may try to find someone to blame. In most cases, they put all blame on one parent and resent them. 

However, every divorce is different, and kids aren’t the same either. There are instances where the kids may feel relieved. This is common if the marriage was filled with arguments and fights. 

Mental Health Problems

Divorce increases the risk of mental health issues in kids and adolescents. It can trigger adjustment disorders. Even though they typically resolve within a few months, they can cause tremendous anxiety or depression. Studies suggest that children from divorced families are at a higher risk of getting mental health issues. 

Poor Social and Academic Performance 

After a divorce, many children report a decline in their studies. Even though this is not always the case, it is likely to happen if the divorce was sudden or unexpected. 

The kids may also start having behavioral issues. They may have more cases of impulsive behavior and delinquency. Externalizing problems is a common way of coping with divorce and the problems it presents. 

In conclusion, the effects of divorce on a kid are tremendous. Most kids will exhibit emotional and mental issues, especially if they do not get guidance. If you are going through a divorce, contact a good Wilmington Divorce Attorney. The best one may give you recommendations for a therapist. Call us today for reliable services at fair rates.