One’s parents’ divorce can be one of the most stressful and mentally exhausting experiences for anyone, let alone a child’s precious developing mind may take the worst of it all.
Each child deals with the divorce of their parents in their own way. Some have feelings of abandonment and anger towards either life or one or both of the parents while others may take it as a good escape from the negative impacts their parents’ unhappy marriage must have caused. A child of divorce may experience a variety of feelings, including helplessness, rage, uncertainty, sadness, guilt, and self-blame. While some kids blame themselves, others might use that lens to point the finger at one parent.
However, the child may perceive the divorce, and using the right parenting strategy is necessary to ensure the child’s well-being. Moreover, there are Indian Divorce Laws laid down by the government that help both parents and children through various strategies. Children are resilient, and with support, the shift following a divorce can be seen as an adjustment rather than a crisis.
In this blog we will explore some of the most common negative and positive impacts of divorce seen in children in India, we will also explore some most effective and healthy strategies for parents to reduce such impacts on their child’s well-being.
The First Year: Why It’s the Hardest
According to research, kids experience the most difficulty in the first year or two following the divorce. Distress, wrath, worry, and disbelief are likely to be experienced by children.
However, a lot of kids seem to recover. They adjust to changes in their daily schedules and become at ease with their living conditions. Others, on the other hand, never truly appear to return to “normal.” After their parents’ divorce, a tiny number of children may continue to have issues, maybe for the rest of their lives.
Divorce’s Emotional Toll
Even though divorce can be an emotional difficulty for the entire family, it can be especially frightening, perplexing, and upsetting for children:
• Young children frequently find it difficult to comprehend why they must go between two homes. They can be concerned that if their parents can grow apart, then perhaps one day they too would lose love for them.
• Grade school students can worry that they are to blame for the divorce. They might think they acted inappropriately or fear that they caused the divorce in other ways.
• A divorce and the changes it brings about may cause teenagers to become quite irate. They might hold one parent responsible for the breakdown of the marriage, or they might hold one or both parents responsible for the turmoil in the household.
EFFECTS ON ACADEMICS:
Everyone in the family finds divorce to be challenging. Children may become distracted and perplexed when trying to comprehend the shifting family dynamics. One of the repercussions of divorce on children could be evident in their academic achievement due to this disruption in their daily attention. Children who are more easily distracted are less likely to be able to concentrate on their schoolwork.
REDUCED SOCIAL ACTIVITIES:
According to research, divorce may also have a negative social impact on kids. Children whose families are divorcing could find it more difficult to connect with others and tend to have less social interactions. Children can experience insecurity and question if their family is the only one that has had a divorce.
Children might become irate or irritated when they are feeling overburdened and unsure of how to handle the effects of divorce on them. Many different perceived causes may be the target of their rage. Children going through a divorce could act out in anger toward their parents, themselves, their friends, and other people. It’s crucial to be aware that this anger may be a persistent effect of the divorce on children if it does not go away after a few weeks, even though this is the case for many kids.
Children frequently ask why their parents are divorcing. They will seek explanations, questioning whether their parents are no longer in love with one another or whether they are at fault.
These guilt feelings are a fairly common consequence of divorce for kids, but they can also cause a lot of other problems. Guilt puts more strain on the body, which can result in sadness, stress, and other health issues. These emotions of guilt can be lessened by providing context and counselling so that a child understands their part in a divorce.
Teenagers who have divorced parents are more likely to participate in dangerous behaviours like drug use and unrestrained sex.
A 2010 study found that adolescents were significantly at risk for starting to have sexual relations before the age of 16 if their parents split when they were 5 years old or younger.
Separation from fathers has also been linked to more teenage girls having sexual partners.
In comparison to children from two-parent families, children from divorced families may exhibit more externalizing issues, such as conduct disorders, delinquency, and impulsive behaviour. Children may encounter more peer conflict in addition to an increase in behavioural issues following a divorce.
Children who are younger may exhibit symptoms of separation anxiety such as excessive sobbing or clinginess. Of course, this is also a developmental milestone, with onset usually occurring between 6 and 9 months and resolution occurring at 18 months.
CAN DIVORCE LEAD TO PTSD IN CHILDREN?
Children who witness a divorce brought on by domestic abuse or aggressive behaviour between parents may be emotionally affected by it, which raises the long-term risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.
Divorce is a stressful period for the entire family, and there is a greater likelihood that it will have a bad impact on the kids. Therefore, you must take care to prevent the children from feeling lost and unguided as a result of your separation. Children will accept the situation more readily if the short- and long-term repercussions of divorce are handled with tolerance and empathy.
1) HAPPY PARENTS MEANS HAPPY CHILD:-
Constant conflict between parents can lead to a very stressful and unhappy existence for children. After a divorce, many kids find the absence of yelling conflicts and a calm environment to be quite soothing and healthful.
2) LESS PRONE TO ADDICTION:-
With a more peaceful environment at home, a child is less likely to rely on substances like drugs and alcohol in an attempt to hide away from the hard realities at home. A focused parent can also take better care of their children.
3) QUALITY TIME WITH PARENTS:-
If the child is free to shuttle between the houses of his both parents, then he may spend fruitful time. His interactions are no longer interpreted by an argument, and he can pour his heart out freely. It also gives each parent an opportunity to divide the responsibility equally, and still be the caring mom or dad that they have been.
4) BETTER GRADES:-
Research has shown that divorce can help a child study better and improve his grades since he no longer has the baggage of quarreling parents back home. Also, each parent dedicates their time for the child’s homework and studies.
5) MAY NOT REPEAT THE SAME MISTAKES:-
What happens when you see your parents’ marriage fail? You get the best life lesson on managing relationships. Studies about positive effects of divorce have shown that children who witness the split of their parents can show maturity and patience while managing conflicts in their relationships. They communicate better and always strive to be good by not repeating the mistakes of their parents.
HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILDREN DURING A DIVORCE:-
Although something as serious as your parents’ divorce is bound to have its negative impacts on a child, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a completely bad thing if it’s handled correctly, by parents taking responsibilities and healthy approaches in dealing with their children.
Here are some points on how parents can reduce the effect of their divorce on their children’s minds:-
• Co-parent amicably:- Making your children understand that they can still have a happy and healthy relationship with their parents can go a long way in their acceptance to the divorce.
• Refrain from putting children in the middle and do not make your children take either of your sides.
• Maintain healthy relationships with your children and make them understand and see how and why your decision to take a divorce was the right decision for both of you.
• Use consistent discipline that is age appropriate and doesn’t negatively add on your child’s mental being.
• Keep an eye on teenagers so they feel watched and responsible for their actions.
• Empower your kids:- Teaching your children that life is hard but they always have the mental strength and capacity to handle it can make them feel in control of their life.
• Teach them coping mechanisms.
• Make them feel safe as having your parents split up can make children feel abandoned as well as mentally, physically, and financially unsafe.
• Seek parent education:- There are many programs that teach you co-parenting skills and other strategies to deal with your children during a divorce.
• Seek professional assistance:- Sometimes children either do not respond properly to their parents or your methods may be ineffective on your children even after your many attempts, seeking professional help such as therapy can really help the children open up and deal with the divorce in their own way.
There are rules for divorce in India, where everything is considered including the child, family, and parents, etc. For professional advice on law-related topics like divorce laws, child custody, child support, divorce laws in India, etc and to hire a professional lawyer and attorney, consult with the best law firm in Chandigarh – Lex Solutions.