Divorce and children

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The main thing a family gives to a child - is a model of life, a model of relationships between family members, man and woman, and with outward things in general

The main thing a family gives to a child - is a model of life, a model
of relationships between family members, man and woman, and with outward things
in general. Lots of positive and negative thing happen in the world. A complete
family, facing problems of everyday life, overcomes them much easier. A child
in such family knows he`s not alone, there`re always a mom and dad behind his
back, he learns overcoming critical situations on an example of mutual
decisions (probably not always correct and made is disputes, but, finally, made
by the whole family).
The main is that a child is learning and preparing to a future life in a
family. Of course, he will learn and prepare in full measure in a complete
family. Even the fact, how parents will be able to overcome the situation of
divorce, what a family will lose or gain because of this, will teach a child
the way to behave in similar situation in his own adult life. Nowadays there`re
a number of psychological researches, which results confirm, that children of
divorced parents experience certain difficulties in their own adult family
When divorce is necessary?
Pluses of a complete family for a child are obvious. However, there`re
situations, when divorce will help not only parents, but a child too. If a
family is sleeping on a volcano every day, if there`re constant
quarrels in it, rough bickerfests (worse with assault and battery), if all
family members are tired of each other and busy only with accusations and reproaches
towards others, - you have to admit that divorce is the best way out. Moreover,
this way out is necessary for a child too, as after divorce each partner has an
opportunity to harmonize his own life. In a family, where there`s always
strained atmosphere, endless conflicts, a child feels unhappy in double measure.
Such family atmosphere has much more serious influence on a child, than a
stable life with one of parents. At the same time, although divorce will,
probably, lead to improvement of family members` living situation, or at least
to a more stable and, the main, more emotionally stable atmosphere for a child,
it`s necessary to remember, that parental divorce always means a tragedy for
children, even if it`s the only way out of an unbearable situation in a family.
What is divorce for a child?
Divorce is always a stress for a child.
If adults separate on their own initiative, then children almost always
turn to be hostages of circumstances. With rare exception, no child wishes breakup
between parents. Many children overcome divorce very difficultly. Sometimes his
feelings can be compared with feelings, caused by death of some parent. Even
the most righteous divorce can become the strongest shock for a child, cause
negative results, which displays sometimes can continue for significant time.
Under any circumstances of a divorce (excepting those, when it removes a
source of threat for a child) a child`s behavior changes, like it changes in
all people, experiencing a strong psychological stress - someone becomes
unsociable and shrinks into his shell in such situations, someone starts
behaving incalculably and with hostility. The situation is redoubled with the
fact, that children are most vulnerable, defenseless and helpless creatures.
Their methods of confrontation with surrounding atmosphere are weak, and
strengths are uneven.
After-effects of stress after divorce?
General changes
Changes can be different.  A
child`s protest against forced interference in his life can take both obvious
and hidden forms. It`s important to know that a child can hide his feelings
from his mother, but quarrel with his friends, refuse from participation in
children holidays etc. All this - are signs of a child`s psychological trouble,
weakening of his ability to adapt himself to circumstances of everyday life.
Fact of divorce can also cause such serious after-effects, like neuroses,
depression and various behavioral disorders (spite, a child`s aggression) etc.
These deviations can bring both temporary and constant character, displaying
during several years after divorce.
Inner, emotional feelings
After parental divorce children try to overcome straining feelings of
loneliness and anxiety, they experience lack of parental love and care. They
even can think that now both parents will refuse from them, send them to a children’s
home. And this is typical both for small 4-5 year old babies and more adult
Children treat themselves as Centers of the Universe. That`s why they
are disposed to feel themselves responsible for all tragedies, happening in
their families. We often can see naA?ve children`s phrases: “Dad went away
because of me, as I didn`t obey him and behave badly”. It`s impossible to imagine,
how strong a child blames himself in this back-breaking situation for himself
he cannot even change anything. Such thoughts (or feelings) are also typical
for children of all ages, up to full age. Senses of guilt, sadness, fear, fury
and anger are results of such thoughts.
All these feelings and thoughts lead to lowering of emotional tone,
sense of loneliness, negative self-sentiment and low self-esteem. Such children
belong to a special problem group, which needs attention of parents, psychologists
and teachers.
Change of behavior
Changes in a child`s behavior can have both passive and active
character. Passive changes can lie in lowered capacity for work, excessive fatiguability,
depression, refusal from communication, tearfulness, irritability etc. More
active displays of behavioral disorders: theft, ribaldry, fights, escapes from
home. Anger and aggression are main feelings, guiding a child`s behavior.
It may seem strange, that, playing in the yard, children feel quite
happy. Many parents reproach children with pretense on this basis. This
happens, because children, as a rule, still have an ability to accept events
“here and now”, and not always remember that an hour ago someone quarreled with
somebody. Besides, they cannot think constantly only about a bad and hard
moment for them.
Sexual and age peculiarities
Many aspects in a child`s psychological reaction depend on his age and
sex. The older a child is, the stronger signs of sex are displayed in him and
the more serious behavioral disorders can be. Small children can express their
only through one method - fall sick, and they do it. Eczemas, gastritis,
stuttering, tics - these are most typical displays of children inner tension,
with help of which they inform other people about unhappy family climate. Often
all these signs serve to one task - to attract attention of parting parents, unite
them or, at least, make sure they still love their child.
Often feelings “go underground” and are displayed in an awkward age. For
example, a child experienced divorce in the age of 6-7 years, but its
after-effects can appear only by 11-13 years. However, as a rule, change in a
child`s behavior takes place immediately, it`s just no so expressed or parents
are too busy with their problems and didn`t notice these changes in a child
earlier, during a divorce.
Change of views on life
Besides psychological and behavioral changes, many views of life also
change in a child usually. Ideas of love and fidelity, the way a family should
be, role of each member of a family are changed.
Children of divorced parents value family unity least of all, lack of
faith in a strong marriage is laid in them since childhood. They have no skills
of positive solutions of family conflicts, are much worse prepared for creation
of their own normal and healthy family.
According to results of long-term psychological researches, almost half
of children from divorced families enters into youth age being worried,
depressed, diffident, and sometimes just embittered. In their adult life they
are afraid of a failure in private relations very much, fear infidelity more
often, suffer from breakups stronger. If a divorce comes in their new family,
it becomes that nightmare they fear so much and avoid. They thirst for love
passionately, but are afraid that they will never find it.
Naturally, such self-sentiment and feelings lead to the fact that in
future such children experience troubles in marriage more often. For example,
women, who grew in such families, divorce twice more often.
What parents can do?
More attention
When such thing happens, children require a special attention, patience
and love from both parents. Try to find more time for communication with a
child. It`s important to remember, that a child values not time, but quality of
communication. If we speak about a working unwed mother, then she should find
to smile not only at work, but at home too, and find at least some time for
communication with a child. If we speak about a coming father, his task is not
just to spare time with a child, but cooperate with him efficiently during
whole period of communication.
Honesty and clarity
It`s necessary for both parents to have a united and clear attitude
towards a new family status, their presence in a family, mutual relations
between them and with a child. Reserve and reticence (”for the sake of a
child`s serenity”) - are bad companions in overcoming psychological troubles
during a post-divorce period. Various omissions increase tension in children,
cause their distrust and suspicions and can provoke absolutely fantastical suppositions
and unequal behavior both in a family and beyond its limits.
A child is not to blame
Adults` task is to persuade a child that he is not to blame, that
divorce in connected only with misunderstanding between parents and will not
affect mother`s and father`s relation towards their child at all. It`s
extremely important to find such arguments, so that they would persuade a child
in his non-participation in a divorce.
When breakup happens, and parents decide to part, it`s very important
for a child of any age to know that they continue loving him and will always
care about him. Regardless of relations between parents, a child should feel
that father and mother will love him as much as before.
Accept a divorce as an essential of life
The smaller children are, the more they perceive the world and events
the way they are. That`s why small children overcome a divorce much easier (if
parents themselves don`t provoke children with their own feelings): “No father
- ok”, “Father comes once a week - ok”, “Three times a week - ok too”. Here
parents themselves should accept the situation the way it is, not tormenting
themselves or a child.
Everything is more difficult with teenagers - they already saw a lot,
understand a lot and make their own conclusions. These conclusions are often strained,
made basing on their own, still short life experience, on the base of some
phrases of parents. To avoid such perception of a divorce, anomalous attitude
to new relations in a family, first of all parents should be sincere with
children - perceive events the way they are and tell about them to children
honestly (of course, considering their age).
Don`t blow up at children`s presence
You should never quarrel at a child`s presence. And moreover you cannot
arrange loud emotional scenes at his presence. Tension, fear and horror a child
will feel, when parents are quarreling, shouting at each other (even worse -
fight), cannot be described without exclamations.
Don`t centre out on children for your partner`s offences
On no account vent your anger, offence or other hard feelings toward
ex-husband (wife) upon your children.
Don`t blame your husband (wife) in everything
Explaining reasons of a family breakup, don`t blame your ex in anything.
If a parent doesn`t need a child in his new life, it will be difficult to smooth
over pain, but you still should not tell ugly things about him, a child will
grow and understand everything by himself.
Don`t draw children into a conflict between adults
Don`t manipulate your child to gain this or that decision from your ex.
Such manipulations affect not only a child`s psyche, but will also be repaid a
hundredfold to you.
Don`t make a child your own psychotherapist
Don`t tell a child about all your problems, doubts and thoughts. This
way you load him with the solution of your problems marginally, and, may be, involve
him in a conflict.
Remember, a child is just your child! This is not an adult person -
neither your ex, nor parent, nor other adult.
Don`t make children an only object of your care
This is especially typical for mothers. A woman, left alone, directs all
her feelings, love and care on her only child. Such hypertrophic and intense
feeling - is a burden for a child, sometimes as heavy, as negative feelings of
Don`t force your children making a back-breaking choice
Don`t force children taking someone`s side or leaving with some of
parents. A child cannot and should not choose a parent, if he doesn`t want it
Don`t make a child loving
You shouldn`t make a child loving a step-father or stepmother. There is
time for everything. Moreover, you cannot replace his father with a
step-father, if a father is ready to communicate, visits a child and takes part
in his upbringing. Remember, your child has a father, a baby is not guilty that
this is a strange man for you now. A step-father should better become a good
friend for a child.
Apply for help
If a child doesn`t speak about his fears, this doesn`t mean he has no
fears. A child becomes unsociable and his feelings start “boiling” inside of
him. The best variant would be to visit a psychologist, try various methods of
from a problem, at least take it out, i.e. help him express himself, tell about
problems that worry him.
If your relationships have no chances anymore, try not to run to
extremes. Don`t cripple yourself, your once loved person, and, the main, your
child, which is not guilty at all. We all underestimate intensity of children`s
payment for parental divorces. 

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