How Can Divorce Affect a Child?
Children affected by divorce often face psychological and physical problems. They may blame either parent for the split or both parents. They may also experience depression and separation anxiety. Moreover, they may experience economic deprivation and parental conflict. Read on to learn more about the impact of divorce on children.
Mental and physical effects of divorce
A divorce can affect the mental and physical health of a child in a variety of ways. Children in divorced households are often more likely to suffer from accidents, alcohol and drug abuse, and illness. The stress and anxiety of a divorce can also compromise a child’s immune system.
Children often feel pressured to choose sides in a divorce. This can result in them feeling that their communication patterns were responsible for the divorce. In addition, they may find it difficult to form positive relationships with other people and may experience problems with social interaction. Children experiencing divorce may also develop problems with speech, including selective mutism. These problems can be difficult to address, but parents can help children overcome these problems by encouraging them to pursue their goals. In addition, educators can help children plan.
Differences between boys and girls affected by divorce
Research suggests that boys and girls experience divorce differently, depending on their gender, age, and circumstances. Boys tend to respond to divorce aggression, whereas girls tend to suppress their feelings. This difference may be due to socialization and the realities of divorced families. Girls, on the other hand, often have stronger bonds with their mothers.
The study found no differences between boys and girls in the effects of divorce on economic well-being, but it did show that girls are less likely to have stable jobs and to be enrolled in college. However, young adult males were less likely to experience depression than their female counterparts. The researchers noted that these findings suggest that girls may be more vulnerable to marriage breakdown than boys.
Impact of economic deprivation on children after divorce
Children whose parents have divorced are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and high anxiety levels. As a result, they are less likely to form close, supportive relationships. The negative psychological consequences of divorce are particularly pronounced in adolescents. The risk of delinquency, loneliness, and suicide is significantly higher in these children than in their peers.
Among the effects of divorce on children is a decrease in family income. It is estimated that between 28 and 42 percent of family income falls after a divorce. Although little attention has been paid to this link, economists have long observed a negative correlation between divorce and poverty.
Impact of parental conflict on children after divorce
A recent study conducted by the Canadian Department of Justice found that high-conflict divorce is especially damaging to children. Children are exposed to verbal and physical fights between their parents, and this conflict negatively impacts them. As a result, children experience a higher level of anxiety and mental health issues than children of less-conflict marriages. The more extreme the conflict, the more it damages children.
High-conflict marriages often involve physical fighting, arguing, or total avoidance of conflict. They are characterized by frequent, intense conflicts over sex, children, and money. Numerous studies have linked frequent, intense marital conflict with negative child development, and the chances of this occurring during a litigated divorce are greater than in a collaborative divorce.
Effects of parental separation on academic performance
A recent study found that children affected by divorce tend to suffer from lower grades, which can lead to a snowball effect in later life. It is not just academic scores that are affected: children in divorced households report poor physical and emotional health. Additionally, they are more likely to experience depression and anxiety than their peers. In addition, children affected by divorce are less likely to graduate from high school.
The study found that parental separation was associated with lower school performance among children between three and five years of age. However, this effect was only found in children with GSA scores in the lowest twenty percentile. Children who were affected by separation had significantly decreased performance between ages three and five, by an average of 3.7 points. This difference was statistically significant because the p-value was 0.05.