Divorce changes everything within a family. What used to be an intact family unit is now broken apart and life will never be the same again. Life is about change but the changes that occur when a divorce happens are sometimes devastating.
Emotionally it threatens a child’s feeling of security and depending on how custody is handled, it can affect the child for the rest of his life. Even in a “friendly” divorce the child still can suffer from feelings of guilt, insecurity and mistrust of relationships. The children feel the changes of divorce as much as the divorcing parents do. An adult has the maturity to deal with their emotions but often a child internalizes their feelings or lashes out.
Financially a family changes when a divorce happens. One or both parents suffers a financial loss by not being a two-income family unit any longer. Even though child support or alimony may be awarded, life is different in the now single parent household. Money is tighter and often the family home is sold.
Children may need to adjust to a new neighborhood and maybe even a new school. The children of divorce go through many different adjustments. From a new home, new school and not seeing one of their parents as often as they used to. The parent who does spend more time with them may still be struggling with the life adjustment and may not be emotionally available for them.
Holidays and birthdays become different also. Even with a shared custody arrangement, it can be hard to juggle the activities of the day. Children often become pawns in the ongoing war between ex spouses and the holidays can often be very hard to enjoy. The children are also getting accustomed to new family traditions. The way holidays used to be celebrated as a family have now changed. Even when a parent tries to maintain family traditions it can sometimes feel bittersweet to a child.
Because of the financial burdens, the single parent may have to leave the child alone after school while they are working. It can be very hectic to try and work to support a child on your own. The child can often find trouble when they are feeling neglected or left on their own too much.
Many parents do not realize the impact that divorce can have on a child. A child’s world is turned upside down when a family is broken apart by divorce. Taking notice of how much their lives have changed and trying to be supportive of their feelings is a way to move forward into a new life.
The divorce was an ending to a marriage that didn’t work but its effect on the children cannot be minimized. Their world is different although they had nothing to do with Mommy and Daddy breaking up. Their sense of security and trust has been broken. Divorced parents need to remember that they are responsible for the change in the children’s life. They need to put hurt and angry feelings aside and help the children adjust to life after divorce. A child can grow up happy and healthy in spite of their parents’ divorce.