Continued from Effects Of Divorce On Children
Divorce Effects On Children-Respect For Authority: Not! Unfortunately, the children's respect for authority model went out the window with the divorce of their parents. If the kid's two key authority figures (the parents) could not respect each other and provide a reliable environment for the child...if they couldn't obey the basic rule of marriage (love, honor, cherish for life), then what good are all the rest of their rules? What good are all those rules that strangers make up? Sadly, the children are bombarded with examples of authority figures breaking their own rules. Unless their home provides the right example, where are they going to find a consistent model?
Divorce Effects On Children-Sense Of Relationship: Children learn how to relate to others by watching their parents relate to each other. When parents divorce, it teaches the children that it's all right to give up if things get too hard...that no relationship is worth working through the rough spots. Divorce gives them a subconscious expectation that love can't be trusted. Unless they consciously purge themselves of this false belief about love, they are bound to prove it in their own lives, by divorce after divorce. They may even decide not to get married or not to have children to 'spare them the hurt.'
Divorce Effects On Children's Performance: A gazillion studies have been done on this, so I'm not going to spout statistics...they're easy enough to find. In every area where child performance can be measured, children of divorce have much lower performance, on average, than those in traditional families. This doesn't mean a child is destined to failure, it's just that extra effort needs to be taken to help them achieve their potential.
Overcoming the Effects Of Divorce On Children: If you're a divorced parent, there are ways to reduce, even to minimize the effects on your children...but it won't be easy. Here goes! If possible, agree with your "ex" that you will never disagree or criticize each other in front of the child, that you will establish similar rules for the child (bedtime, homework, friends, etc.) and that if you have a concern with each other, you will set a time away from the kids to work it out. I know this is ideal, but, who knows, now that you're not in the same house you may find it easier to cooperate. Even if your ex doesn't go along, your standards must be specific, reasonable and consistent to provide some stability for your child. Continuing in the interest of stability, don't run out and get hooked up again...even in overnight or live-in relationships. Don't have any romantic relationships until 2-3 years after the divorce (who said divorce was easy?). If you do find someone you want to consider, know who you're bringing into your kids' World. This means, court very slowly (2-3 years) and have the children comfortable with them for several months before you get married. Check out our page, Blended Family Problems for tips on what you may expect.
It's particularly important for your child's self-worth, to keep them active in many positive, fulfilling activities where they can achieve and get affirmed for those achievements. It would be ideal if one or both parents were always there to witness their achievement and cheer them on. Church, boys and girls clubs, sports leagues are all places they can get positive encouragement and affirmation, learn good relationship skills and develop a habit of achievement. This reduces their vulnerability because they learn to respect themselves and others. Of course, until your children learn to choose positive, uplifting friends (about age 45), you should be very choosey about who they can be around. Interview the parents, too.
"You become like the people you hang with." Solomon, 3,500 years ago.
Finally, you already know you can't eliminate all the harms your child will receive from your divorce. The best any of us can do is to minimize the risk of harm...and they deserve the best we can do. At the end of the day, the children and the parents of divorce need someone watching out for them who is above it all. That someone who watches and loves you and your children is God. If you want His help and protection, click on God Help Me.
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