Unhappy mates may look upon divorce as a way to solve their problems, but what will be the effects of divorce on children? There is mounting evidence that family unhappiness is causing children emotional problems ranging from bed-wetting and poor grades to severe depression. Many parents split up yearly, that resulted to confused children, the innocent victims of divorce.
Children, especially younger ones, can be devastated by divorce. For them, the family is like a nest—warm and protective. When it collapses, the bottom seems to fall out of their world.
Divorce introduces the idea that love can die. For the child who depends on the love of his or her parent, this can be a frightening thought. If the parents who once loved each other no longer do, will they be the next to lose that love?”
For most children, divorce spells disaster. Almost all of them suffer intense unhappiness. It can make them cynical and hard in their emotional lives. Many children from broken homes become problem pupils in school. The loss of family security has cost them dearly.
“After Dad moved out, Mom went to work, and my brothers and I pretty much had to raise ourselves. We got used to coming home to an empty house. In fact, we’d invite our friends over to get ‘stoned’ after school. As I got older, I thought about marriage, but I didn’t have the slightest idea what would make a marriage succeed or fail.”
“Dad tried to raise us and be strict, but he didn’t know how to talk to us, and he was usually too tired to try. I had to find out the facts of life on my own. I was married at 17, and divorced a few years later, with a little baby. My husband and I could not communicate at all.”
These are the comments of children who became victims of a worldwide surge in marital breakups.
FINANCIAL PROBLEM AFTER DIVORCE CAN AFFECT THE CHILDREN
Divorce almost always creates financial strain, especially for the parent with custody of the children. The situation is even worse if the parent must move and the child suddenly loses his friends and neighborhood as well as one of his parents. Problems that children have at this time can affect them years later.
“I lived with Mom for a while after the divorce, but she had to work nights just to make enough to support us. She tried to be a good mother, but often she could only give me some money to buy candy for my brothers and sister and then leave us alone. You know, that’s about how I wound up treating my little daughter. I guess I felt that if I had survived, she could too.” One young girl name Mary said
Mary feels that her treatment as a child of divorce affected her later as a wife and mother. Is her case unusual? Apparently not. In view of this, how valid is the popular notion that children settle down within a few years after divorce and become happier than before?
WHAT ABOUT LEGAL ARGUMENTS IN THE COURT, CAN IT AFFECT THE CHILD?
If the mere fact of divorce is enough to shatter a child’s world, what happens when the legal arguments regarding hostilities enter the picture? Once divorce gets into the court system, lawyers take adversary postures and want to fight. Such fighting can create needless bitterness for parents and children.
“My lawyer wants me to bring an action against my husband to remove him from the house, to change all the locks on the doors and claim that my husband is dangerous and violent. My husband does not really act that way, but my lawyer says it would look better for me for the final settlement if I do this. He says it’s done all the time. I know it would upset my children.” One woman wrote
Of course, not all lawyers give that kind of advice. Nevertheless, the very adversary nature of many legal systems encourages such tactics.
What about the new no-fault laws? Are they not supposed to take the fighting out of divorce? They are not working out that way. Now, instead of fighting about who caused the marriage to break down, lawyers fight over money and the children.
If children are pressured or bribed to take sides in custody fights, they can suffer real damage. When a child is ask by the court to choose which parent she wanted to live with, she became totally confused. Worse still is the plight of the estimated thousands of children who are kidnapped every year by their own parents in custody disputes. Such parents may go underground with their children, refusing even to enroll them in school for fear they will be caught as kidnappers.
Some people feel that joint custody is the solution, but this results in children being shifted from one home to another like shuttlecocks, causing them to become disoriented. If the children are having difficulty adjusting to their new circumstances, might this be solved by taking them to a counselor or a psychologist?
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
There are lots of miserable mental and emotional damages left unsaid. So before parents think of divorce, may they sit down and calculate not only a few times but a thousand times the effects of divorce on their children. Could it be that the only solution is to solve their own problems and actually save the innocent victims, their children!
Despite the notion about these sad effects of divorce on children, couples still go for a divorce, but what are the leading causes of divorce?
But what if husband and wife are always fighting? What if divorce is unstoppable? How can you cope with divorce?