<ul><li>Divorce can be a devastating experience for the children as well as the parents involved. </li></ul><ul><li>A child often first feels inadequate and at fault for the separation of their parents. </li></ul><ul><li>It can be very confusing because the child often does not know the exact reason for the separation so they are left to guess. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The child will often feel very alone and unsure of what to do because such a huge part of their life seems to be unraveling. </li></ul><ul><li>Many children are not aware that their parents relationship is not the best, so divorce often catches them by surprise. </li></ul><ul><li>They often feel extremely angry and upset at the situation because they know that there is nothing that they can do to fix it, as much as they want to think there is. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The effects of divorce seem to change due to the age of the child at the time, studies show that: </li></ul><ul><li>Ages 3-5: Often see disturbances in sleeping patterns, and become very attached to the parents for fear of separation. </li></ul><ul><li>Ages 6-8: Are more open about their grief to the departed parent, often have fantasies about their parents reuniting. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Ages 8-11: Feel a lot of anger and powerlessness, tend to favor one parent over the other and care for one more than the other. </li></ul><ul><li>Ages 12-18: The grief becomes more intense such as depression and violence, tend to focus on the moral issues causing them to judge their parents, and become more fearful for their own future and relationships that they will eventually have. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The relationship between the child and the separating parents often becomes a lot less strong due to the emotions and feelings that come from divorce. </li></ul><ul><li>It is hard for a parent to recognize that their child is struggling because they can get so caught up in their own feelings. </li></ul><ul><li>The child can often feel responsible to look after their parents and make sure that they are both mentally and physically okay. </li></ul>
<ul><li>15% of children interviewed at the 10 year follow up point in a 15 year study showed significant effects from taking on the role of holding a parent together psychologically. </li></ul><ul><li>The child can also become extremely overwhelmed if one of the parents becomes involved with someone else, which can bring a sense of anger and resentment to the new person. </li></ul><ul><li>If the parent does not make an effort to comfort the child, they often feel inadequate and abandoned. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Acting out </li></ul><ul><li>Difficulty sleeping </li></ul><ul><li>Destructive behavior such as drug abuse, violence, or even suicide </li></ul><ul><li>Problems in school </li></ul><ul><li>Develop nervous habits </li></ul><ul><li>Become clingy </li></ul><ul><li>Greater need to be taken care of </li></ul>
<ul><li>10 and 15 year studies show that divorce is not just an initial stress in the life of a child, but can actually have long-term effects on the social abilities of the children. </li></ul><ul><li>The consequences seem to focus on the anxiety and fear of repeating the same thing in their own future relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>They are more nervous when making serious life decisions such as marriage. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Eleoff, Sara. "Divorce Effects on Children." The Child Advocate. Nov. 2003. 13 Apr. 2009 <http://www.childadvocate.net/ divorce_effects_on_children.htm>. </li></ul><ul><li>Effects of Divorce on Children. Ed. Ron Pitzer. 1998. University of Minnesota. 13 Apr. 2009 <http://www.extension.umn.edu/info-u/ families/BE905.html>. </li></ul>
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