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Divorce among Americans is rampant. Anymore, divorces are as common as marriages themselves. Couples marry and then something goes wrong in their relationship, so they divorce. Although a divorce may be hard on the adults involved, what about the children? What happens to the kids of these broken marriages?
Some parents who are going through a divorce wonder what the effects of their divorce will be on their children. They worry that the divorce will cause their children emotional problems that will affect them for the rest of their lives. These worries are not unreasonable. Depending on the age of the child, the effects of divorce can vary.
Small children do not understand what is happening at all. They can’t comprehend why Mommy and Daddy do not live together anymore. Sometimes small children are afraid that if Daddy doesn’t live with them anymore, then Mommy might leave too.
Some small children may revert to less mature behavior. A child may start to use a pacifier again, or a child that has been potty trained may begin to have multiple "accidents."
Children who are a little older and in the beginning years of school (6 to 8 years old} usually respond to their parents divorce with grief. They tend to cry a lot. These children, no matter what their previous relationship with the absent parent was, feel a great sense of loss for this parent.
The absent parent, though not always, is usually the father. These young children usually begin to idolize their father because they see him less often. Visits with him are usually thought of as "vacations." Children in the early years of school tend to take their anger about the divorce out on their mother. Most of the time they blame the mother for the separation.
These children also tend to fantasize about Mom and Dad getting back together. They believe that if they "misbehave," Mom and Dad will have to get back together in order to control their behavior.
Children in the upper grades of elementary school (9 to 12 years of age) are a little more mature than the younger children and usually understand at least some of the reasons for a divorce. These kids usually try to make the best of their situation.
These older children sometimes try to hide their feelings about the divorce from the custodial parent. They feel the need to comfort this parent because they can see this parent’s stress over the divorce. They don’t want to upset this parent by showing their feelings.
Instead of voicing their distress over the divorce, children in this age group often complain of physical problems. These children complain of frequent headaches, stomach aches, and other general aches and pains. This is probably because they need to be comforted.
The effects of divorce on teenagers is often hidden. When parents of teenagers divorce, and the responsibility of the child falls on the single parent, often the need for more attention leads the teenager in search of love and support from outside of the family. They tend to depend more on their friends and adults rather than family members. This makes it difficult for the single parent to recognize the problems their teenager is having.
The need for the teenager to help the single parent with housework, baby sitting of younger children, and meal preparation often makes the teenager resent this parent.
Many teenagers begin "acting out" to gain attention. Because there is less parental guidance, teenagers often become involved with the "wrong crowd." They sometimes skip school, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, and girls especially become sexually promiscuous.
Teenagers who have had to deal with the divorce of their parents are likely to marry earlier than they otherwise would have. This is because they are trying to get away from the problems of their parents and are also searching for someone to love them. They fantasize that they can make their marriages last forever. These marriages usually end in divorce also.
Divorce usually causes children of all ages to have problems in school. Because of the problems at home, most kids are unable to concentrate on their school work. Some kids either refuse to go to school or often call home sick because they fear that the custodial parent may also leave.
Although many children of divorced
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Divorce, Family law, Parenting, Marriage, Family, Single parent, Child custody, Christian views on divorce, Get, Divorce law by country, Sociology of the family
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