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How Divorce Impacts Children Under The Age Of 18

2164 words - 9 pages

How Divorce Impacts Children Under the Age of 18
F. Jeanpierre
Psychology

Abstract

In this research you will see how divorce impacts children under the age of 18.  The effects are not universal. Divorce affects children differently based on their age, personality and sexuality. Divorce affects children both mentally and physically. In this research, you will see how divorce can impact children immediately as well as post divorce. I will start with infants, preschool age children, school-aged and then adolescents. Then you will see how divorce affects children spiritually. Furthermore, you will see how the affect of divorce varies based on the child's gender. Finally, in this ...view middle of the document...

  Their behavior is likely to change, in a reverse way. They may act more baby like. They may whine more, ask for their special blanket in order to fall asleep, ask for old toys, or to go places where the whole family use the share laughter’s and joy. Other preschoolers may become uncooperative, depressed, or angry. Even when those uncooperative preschoolers are near the parents, they may still act disobediently and aggressive.

School-aged children
The third group is school- aged children.  It is believed by some psychologist that it is harder for elementary school children to adjust to parental divorce then younger and older children.  Elementary school children are cognitively developed enough to understand that they are in pain due to their parent’s separation. Thus, they are old enough to understand their pain but they are not cognitively developed enough to control their reaction to the pain. They may also feel rejected. They may hope their parents will eventually get back together. School-aged children may become isolated. It is important for them to become active and getting involved in plays with other children, to help them cope with their family separation. Children of that age may complain of unusual health issues, such as headaches or stomach aches.

Adolescents
The fourth age group is adolescents. Teenagers often understand the cause leading to their parent's separation.  They may feel pressure to take sides or chose one parent over the other. Often they may try to figure which parent is at fault for the separation.  That conflict often interacts with teenager’s ability to cope with the divorce. Teens may experience several feelings such as; anger, fear, loneliness, depression and guilt. Some adolescents feel they are being forced to take their own responsibility. They feel they are being pushed into adulthood.  Teens may respond to the confusion and low energy of the family by trying to take control over the family. Other teens feel the loss of parental support which leads them to retreat or to isolate themselves, which could lead to depression. The impact may be so severe on some teens that they decide to never get married in the future.
Adolescence is filled with physical and emotional changes, along with ones search for their identity. Divorce during this time can have a strong affect on an adolescent who is still trying to find themselves. Teenagers need to have a secure foundation to grow and mature, but divorce can alter that. A child or teen should not have to think about their parents lives. Divorce can be very unsettling; changing the primary relationship between adolescent and adult. Divorce may change the child or teens relationship with extended family members. For a child or teen, divorce is a hard situation to deal with. As one teenager said when asked what divorce is; “It is like having your whole life flushed down a toilet and as it swirls downward you are powerless to do anything about it”.

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