When a marriage is not working, there is a breakdown of communication, common goals, or trust, and often this ends in divorce. A divorce is a very painful process with detrimental effects on children that are involved (Wienstock 5). The general trauma of a divorce and the level of severity it has on a child are mainly due to the child’s age when a divorce takes place. The psychological effects are normally considered long term and the hardest to deal with for children involved (Persons 1). The easiest of all effects of a divorce is a child is behavior outburst normally displaying aggression and a feeling of not caring about anything or anyone anymore.
The general effects of a divorce can affect everyone involved, but often the children will show the stress and emotions of a divorce more openly that an adult would.
The fear of abandonment and losing one of the parents is devastating on a child (Wienstock 3). How a children perceives their homes normally sets the level of damage children are going to have to cope with through out the divorce and thereafter. If a child perceives the home as stable, they may handle a divorce well, but if a child perceives a home as freighting and scary place, they may try to avoid dealing with it at all. The trauma that a child endures will probably be worse than a child in a stable household environment. The most important issue that affects the level of perception and a level of damage is the age of a child when the parents divorce (Wienstock 3). Younger children will normally take a divorce of their parents more personally and handle it worse than an older child would.
The psychological effects are more categorized as long-term effect that leave the children feeling responsible and blaming themselves for the guilt of a divorce everyone going through. Most children exercise a sense of loss during a divorce that can only be compared to as lost of a loved one (Children of Divorce 4). Feeling of rejections and loneliness normally confuses a child to the point of depression and some times suicide. The struggle as a child try’s to keep in contact with the absent parent without offending the parent that they are still are with becomes stressful and some times damaging to a young child (Wienstock 4). The deepest of all emotions is anger, and it is the easiest to recognize in older children that are coping with a divorce (Persons). The anger is normally turned toward both parents and sibling in the household (Wienstock 4 & 5).
The behavior change in a child is almost immediate after the announcement of a divorce. The behavior outburst and disruption in a child’s life are signs that a child is having a hard time dealing with the idea of parents splitting up. Academic problems with school activities and grades and physical displays of anger are the first of behavior effects to be seen in a family that is falling apart (Wienstock 5). Older children and even younger children are turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with the emotional stress of losing one of the parents in the household . Girls tend to become sexual active with older partners, as they long to find a father like figure to replace the parent that is no longer a direct part of their lives (Wienstock 5). Boys tend to have shorter relationships refusing to get close for fear of being rejected again as they might have felt when their mother left them with his father as a child during a divorce. These children are just trying to find someone that they feel will not abandoned them as they feel their parents have done to them.
The painful process that is broken into stages is navigated by a child and adults alike that have been subject to a divorce. The loss of the other parent is compared by most specialists to a death of a loved one. In therapy, the psychological effects in children are normally over looked as a child grows up and into adults themselves. These children typically are found to have poor relationships and an unbalanced social life as they struggle to find where they belong in this world. The physical effects that affect everyone are the choices that children make while thinking that they will never survive the divorce. Drugs, alcohol, and the sexual behaviors of the older children are just a few effects that a divorce can have on the children. The poor decisions of the current generation to enter in to marriage lightly at such a young age, leaves our society open for a generation of emotion basket cases of parents to raise the our future generations..