Psychological Problems of Children of Divorced Parents

Divorce is more common these days than we lead ourselves to believe. Although divorce rates are lower in India than in other countries, especially when compared to the United States, still 1 in every 100 marriages, ends in divorce these days. Although, the Indian social structure still considers divorce as taboo, more and more younger couples are opting for divorce as a peaceful option. As the demands for having a successful career increase, the priority of marriage decreases but how to deal with children in a broken marriage is still a sensitive issue. Sometimes, the children feel that they are the ones responsible for the divorce of their parents; sometimes they feel cheated, and sometimes they are just angry. The feelings might differ but the trauma of divorce is similar among the children of divorced parents. The mental trauma that the children face leads to psychological problems for many.

The parents might not be able to change their decision but they can follow certain rules that would make the separation less traumatic for the children. These are general guidelines and the needs of children might differ and accordingly the need for counseling.

Talking to children about divorce is not an easy task. It is difficult for both parents and children and so it is easier if one prepares oneself beforehand for the awkward situation. Change in family situations leads to psychological problems. The following tips might help with reducing the stress of the conversation.

  • Do not keep it a secret or wait until the last minute.
  • Tell your child together with your spouse if possible.
  • Keep things simple and straightforward and don’t share more information than your child is asking for.
  • Tell them the divorce is not their fault.
  • Admit that this will be sad and upsetting for everyone.
  • Reassure your child that you both still love them and will always be their parents.
  • Do not discuss each other’s faults or problems with the child.
  • Try to be positive and assure them that they are being loved in the same way as before.

Children react to divorce differently. Young children may become more aggressive and uncooperative or withdrawn. Older children may feel deep sadness and loss. Their schoolwork may suffer and their behavior might change – teenagers might become more difficult. As teenagers and adults, children of divorced parents can have trouble with their own relationships and experience problems with self-esteem.

The psychological problems that children face can be addressed positively by a child counselor. Counseling helps in putting things into perspective and reassuring the child that it was not his/her fault. A professional counselor might be more suited to deal with the psychological problems of children of divorced parents.

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