To a child, the divorce of their parents can be likened to a tsunami that strikes their lives and leaves destruction and havoc in its wake. Nothing is ever the same again. The divorce will affect the child for many years to come.
Divorce impacts future generations within the family
- In some families divorce is cyclical.
- Children lose access to grandparents and extended family.
- Family traditions are lost.
- Generational family stories are not passed on to children.
Divorce affects personal relationships
- Relationships with each parent is affected because the parents are no longer one unit caring for and concerned about the child.
- Girls in single parent homes are more likely to get pregnant as teens.
- Kids may struggle with normal peer relationships.
- Divorce can negatively impact relationships with extended family members.
Divorce affects a child’s schoolwork
- Many will have to repeat a grade.
- Some will drop out of school as teens because they are so far behind their peers in their learning ability.
Divorce affects their health
- Many will be ill simply because of the chaotic lives they are forced to lead.
- Some become ill because high levels of stress compromise their immune system.
The impact can last for years, or a lifetime
Children of divorce are more likely to pull away from church as teens and adults.
Many children turn to substance abuse and yes even elementary age children turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.
Many more teens of divorce succeed in suicidal attempts than the general population. Suicide and suicidal attempts are occurring in younger and younger children.
The landscape of a child’s life that is left after divorce is forever changed. Today we’ve only presented a short list. Stay tuned for more.
In the next few weeks we will be bringing how divorce affects children at different ages. We’ll start with infants, toddlers and preschoolers and move up the chronological age ladder.
Most importantly, we will also be sharing vital information with you on ways you and your church can counter the impact of divorce on children. These children do not have to become a lost generation. Through this blog, we will provide you with effective and proven strategies to help rebuild these precious young lives.
“Originally posted by Linda Ranson Jacobs on the Kids & Divorce blog at, http://blog.dc4k.org Copyright © 2013, DivorceCare for Kids. Used by permission.”
Kristin Little says
Yes while it’s true many of the impacts of divorce you mentioned in your article MAY be true, they are most likely based upon past studies that did not distinguish between “healthy” divorces and “high conflict” divorces. Many of the negative impacts have to do with the breakdown of relationships, chaos in the family structure, and not addressing and reassuring children with empathetic leadership through the changes that divorce brings. Children can adjust to change- what they cannot adjust to is conflict and losing their parents as the loving guides they need through their live.
While church may present a wonderful support for divorced families, those of all faiths and those who are not church involved can hope and work for healing their families throught divorce. Divorce coaches, child specialists, therapists, hard work and persistence to ensure everyone in the family comes out whole can be key in minimizing the risks of divorce (and keep parents from becoming paralized and consumed by their worst fears and anxieties.) I look forward to hearing some of the strategies that you might propose that help those who seek a faith based support system.