Not all marriages are meant to make it the long haul. For some couples, the end is amicable, but for others, the divorce process is long and stressful. Divorce can affect a number of people, from those involved to friends and coworkers, and it can have an especially significant impact on kids if you and your spouse had children. In this two-part series, we will discuss a few ways that a divorce can affect children and how to make it easier on them.
If you’re interested in trying to make your marriage work, or you’ve finally decided on a divorce and you’re willing to try and end your marriage on good terms, Long Island Counseling is here to help. We offer a variety of counseling services for individual and couples, and we are here to give you the guidance and assistance you need. Whether you’re interested in divorce counseling, couple’s therapy, or another form of counseling, contact Long Island Counseling and schedule an appointment today.
How Divorce Affects Children
The first thing you should know about how divorce affects children is that it is different for everyone. You may hear how divorce affects your close friend’s child, or a child who goes to your kid’s school, but that doesn’t guarantee that your child will respond in the same way.
The way your kid responds will also depend on their age. Older children are more likely to understand why their parents are no longer together, and possibly even approve of the separation if it means that you and your spouse are happier. However, a younger child may not understand the idea of divorce and it may take a toll on how they think, act, or feel.
Divorce Shakes a Child’s Sense of Dependency
When you and your partner decide to get a divorce, it affects your child’s sense of dependency. Young children depend on their parents for everything — shelter, clothes, food, safety, and security. When their parents are no longer one unit, it turns their world upside down. Suddenly they are having to get used to a world where they go back and forth from house to house. Everything is unfamiliar and unstable.
However, with older children, you may find that children over the age of 10 react in the opposite way. At that stage in life, adolescents are no longer as dependent on their parents. They see their parents as guardians, but are more reliant on their friends. Teens may see their parents’ divorce as a failure to stay together as a family, thus they start to become more independent and trust only themselves.
Children May Experience Trouble With Future Relationships
As a child, your parents are your role model; everything that they do is something to be admired and repeated later in life. That being said, when parents get a divorce, it can cause a lot of doubt for the child about whether or not love, passion, and harmony in a relationship really exist. This doubt can be intensified if there are other couples in the child’s life that have also had unsuccessful marriages and relationships. As a result, your child may experience difficulties in future relationships. It might be hard for them to trust another person or try to avoid conflict, effectively creating more conflict.
Divorce Can Create Stress for Your Child
As the person going through the divorce, you’re sure to feel your fair share of stress. With that in mind, it’s also important to consider how your divorce may be creating stress for your child. The idea that their parents are separating and that their life is never going to be the same is a lot for a child. Luckily, stress is a short-term effect, and it will most likely go away once your child gets settled into their new routine. It’s important to understand that your child is most likely feeling stressed because they are overwhelmed by the number of changes that are happening in their life all at once. Eventually, once the divorce is final and you settle into a stable routine, your child will begin to feel less stressed.
Not All Responses are Bad
More often than not, you hear about the negative effects that divorce can have on your children, but you never really hear about the benefits that come from divorce. For example, you may find that you and your ex-partner now have more time to spend with your child, and that they get quality time with each parent that they may not have received while you were married. It’s also important to keep in mind that if you and your partner are happy and end the marriage amicably, there’s a good chance that your child will have a better response to the separation.
Interested in Seeking Divorce Counseling?
These are only a few ways that divorce can affect your child, and as we mentioned above, each child’s response is different. If you’re interested in trying divorce counseling to ensure a smooth transition for your child, Long Island Counseling is here to help. We offer a variety of services for both couples and individuals, ranging from couple’s counseling and divorce counseling to individual therapy. We are also more than happy to sit down with you and your children to help them work out some of their frustrations about your divorce. If you are interested in learning more, or you would like to sign up for a session, contact Long Island Counseling today to get started. In the meantime, keep an eye out for part two of this series to learn about how you can avoid some of the more negative effects of divorce on your child.