Over 75% of America's children are dealing with the psychological effects of divorce today and the numbers continue to rise. It is the exception, rather than the rule, to find a family that is still intact with kids who are living with two biological parents. These statistics are unfortunate, as the psychological effects that divorce leaves on children can stay with them for years, or even for a lifetime if they are never dealt with effectively.
Some of the issues that can have a negative psychological effect on children are what they witness preceding the actual divorce. When there is a divorce, there is a breakdown in marital happiness for one reason or another and it is usually felt by everyone in the home, even when the parents make every effort to hide the troubles. In some cases, there is arguing, tension, silence, infidelity, or even forms of abuse going on. These types of things are not easy for kids to process and deal with.
During divorce proceedings, the children are again going to be affected. They are now dealing with the loss of one of the parents in the home. In addition to that, many divorces also include a custody battle that can get nasty at times. Children may be made to feel that they should take sides with one parent over the other and this leaves them feeling as if they have betrayed someone that they love.
While not all children will suffer from a divorce to the same degree as others will, there are always some psychological effects that will leave them different people than they were before living with the experience. Some kids will become very angry about the fact that they have lost a parent, while others may become sad and/or withdrawn, even to the point of true depression.
There are children who feel very betrayed by the parent who left or whichever parent they place blame for the situation on. This can lead to a sense of mistrust for others that will carry on into other relationships in their lives. They may also feel abandoned and constantly seek out a sense of security that they never seem to be able to find.
Because children identify themselves according to their parents and the way that the relationship flows between them, they can suffer identity crises in the wake of divorce. Low self-esteem is another effect that many children from divorced families will have to endure and overcome. This also comes from the separation of the parents. A child may feel that they should have been able to “fix” the family or that they weren't “good enough” to make the absent parent stay.
The psychological effects that children are left to cope with and figure out after the divorce of their parents are difficult, even in the best of circumstances. For some, the wounds will scar and those scars will be carried into their adult lives, affecting their future happiness and ability to meet their goals and dreams. Divorce is not easy on anyone. It is hard for the parents who were once in love and have now found themselves unable to keep their marriage together. It is also hard for the children who witness the disintegration of the marriage and live with the effects of that disintegration.