Divorce and Your Children

Years ago, people believed that divorce was good for both parents and child. Now, research proves that children suffer, even into adulthood, from the effects of divorce. What’s good for mom and dad may not be so good for the children. Divorce often causes emotional trauma to children that conflicts with their most basic concept of family, that mom and dad are supposed to be together forever. Divorce may also cause children to resent both parents. Research has also shown certain increased risks among children with divorced parents, such as unfavorable behavior or poor choices. It is natural to think your child will not fall into these categories or make poor decisions. Keep in mind, these risks simply increase among children raised in divorced homes but doesn’t mean every child will fall into a rut of making wrong decisions. Children from divorced homes are more likely to perform poorly in school, exhibit behavioral issues, commit crimes, or become incarcerated. Children from divorced homes are five times more likely to be raised in poverty in comparison to children raised in a home with two parents. Unfortunately, teens are more likely to fall victim to drug and alcohol abuse as well as becoming sexually active at an early age. Not to mention, children of divorced parents are more likely to suffer psychological consequences that can affect them even as an adult.

Psychologist Judy Wallerstein conducted a study on children from divorced families as a way to follow-up with them at different intervals to determine how they weathered over time. Her study lasted from the 1970’s to 1990’s, interviewing the children at 18 months, then every five years after that for 25 years. Her study revealed that even 25 years later, their fear of change, loss, failure, and conflict followed them into adulthood. These concerns were especially challenging to manage when entering relationships of their own. The effects of divorce were once thought to have the greatest impact during childhood, but exactly the opposite is true. The impact of divorce begin to surface in adulthood when romantic relationships begin to form, compromising the success of the relationship, or causing some people to avoid relationships entirely.
Divorce can also leave children feeling abandoned as their parents begin to focus more of their attention on rebuilding a new life financially, socially, and romantically. Once a parent begins to blend families and remarry, children may feel as though they are competing for their parent’s attention between their new stepparent and any stepchildren that are present. This type of situation may result in a child feeling confused or abandoned, leaving them to turn to bad decisions to fill a constant void in their life. Not every child of divorced parents will make bad decisions, but their risk only increases when they are raised in a home that doesn’t fit what is ideal in their mind. No parent would ever want to imagine or accept that this kind of emotional distress could overtake his or her child, but it can indeed happen.

Although parents may view their divorce as a quick solution to their problems, it is important to consider the long-term effects it can have on their children, even into adulthood. Yancy Belcher, Attorney at Law, invites you for a consultation to discuss your matters related to divorce. Servicing Nashville and the surrounding areas of Mt. Juliet, Hermitage, Lebanon, and Murfreesboro, Yancy Belcher can help you with questions and concerns you may have regarding this difficult, life-changing decision.


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