In 2020, there were 1,676,911 marriages in the United States. The figure is equivalent to a marriage rate of 5.1 per 1,000 individuals. On the other hand, 630,505 divorces were reported in the same year. This translates to a divorce rate of 2.3 per 1,000 people.
These numbers indicate that although marriages remain popular in the United States, it is also becoming easier for couples to part ways if things don’t work out.
Divorce is difficult for all parties involved, but it can be particularly traumatic for children. While many parents think that their child will be fine as long as they maintain a positive attitude, divorce’s psychological effects can be far-reaching and long-lasting. It’s important to understand how divorce can impact your child so you can take steps to support them during this difficult time.
The Impact of Divorce on Children Varies by Age
The impact of divorce on children varies depending on their age. Younger children may have difficulty understanding why their parents are separating and may act out in response. They may also feel guilty or responsible for the divorce, even though it is not their fault. Older children may experience more intense emotions like anger and sadness. They may have difficulty managing these feelings in healthy ways. Both younger and older children may struggle with changes to their daily routine, such as new visitation schedules or changes in custody arrangements.
Here are the psychological effects of divorce on children.
- It’s natural for young children to be confused and even a little worried when they have two homes. They may think that if their parents can stop loving each other, then someday those same parents might stop loving them too.
- Anxiety is, unfortunately, very common for grade school children of divorced parents. They often mistakenly think that the divorce was caused by their behavior, even when it wasn’t.
- Divorces often evoke strong reactions from teenagers, who may direct their anger toward one or both parents. They might hold a grudge against the parent they believe is responsible for the divorce or resent them for changing their family dynamic.
Helping Your Child Cope With Divorce
When parents get divorced, it is hard for the children. They might feel it is their fault, even though it isn’t. The best thing you can do as a parent is to be there for them and help them through this tough time. Let them know they are still loved and that the divorce is not their fault. It would help if you also tried to keep things as consistent as possible between both homes so the child knows what to expect from each one. This will help them feel more secure during this difficult time.
If your child is having difficulty dealing with the divorce, there are some things you can do to help them cope. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and listen without judgment. Reassure them that it is okay to feel sad or angry, but encourage them to express these emotions in healthy ways through activities such as writing, art, or sports.
It is also important to keep communication lines open between you, your ex-spouse, and the child. Make sure that both of you are respectful when discussing matters with the child and that their opinion is considered. It is also helpful if both parents attend counseling sessions together to learn how to communicate better with each other and the child.
Finally, ensure you are taking care of yourself during this difficult time. Taking care of your mental health will help you take care of your child’s well-being. Seek out therapy or counseling for yourself if needed. When parents can remain respectful and supportive towards each other, children will be better able to handle the divorce and move forward.
Consult a Professional
Consulting a professional is essential to help children cope with a divorce. Professionals such as therapists, counselors, or psychologists can guide and support children throughout the process. They can also help a child work through any emotions they may be feeling and provide information on how to adjust to family changes. Divorce counseling is important in helping a child cope with the transition and find their new normal.
It would help if you worked with reputable custody lawyers who can deal with any issues related to the separation. The professional should prioritize the best interests of the children. This will ensure that they are provided with a stable environment and protected from potential harm.
It is important to remember that everyone deals with divorce differently, and that’s okay! There is no single solution for every family dealing with a divorce. But consulting a professional can help you make the best decisions for your children in this difficult time.
Divorce can be traumatic for children of all ages. Even those who seem resilient on the outside might be struggling with deep emotional pain on the inside. Taking steps towards understanding and support while ensuring your child knows they’re still loved unconditionally can go a long way. It can help them cope with the psychological effects of a divorce. If needed, professional help from a therapist specializing in family dynamics can also provide additional guidance on navigating this situation together as a family unit.