How divorce affects children

How divorce affects childrenChildren are sensitive and impressionable, and most likely they do not understand why their parents are splitting up and living apart.  This life-changing event is traumatic for children, and although they do not understand what is happening, they do understand that their secure world has been shaken and will never be the same.  Many times, children have a hard time articulating their feelings into words, and their habits will change due to experiencing the divorce of their parents.

  1. If your parents are divorced, you are more likely to start smoking than your friends, whose parents are still together.  According to research, close to 20 thousand American men, whose parents divorced before they were 18 years of age, had a 50% higher rate of picking up the habit of smoking, than men that lived in a household with both parents.
  2. A six (6) year study was conducted by Dr. Strohschein at the University of Alberta that analyzed Ritalin use and children.  At the start of the study, 5,000 children, who were not on the drug came from a two parent household. Over the years, more than 13% of these children’s parents divorced.  Of these children, coming from broken homes, more than half ended up on the drug Ritalin.  It has been suggested, that the stress encountered from watching and experiencing their parents’ divorce may have caused a shift in their mental health, and in turn had caused them to become dependent on this drug.
  3. It is believed that the excessive amount of stress associated with a divorce may leave 35% of young children developing health issues, especially during the first four (4) years of the separation.
  4. According to a research study, by Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin, that took eight decades to complete, and the book, the Longevity Project was a result, more than 1,500 girls and boys were studied throughout their lives.  Over a third of these participants experienced a parent dying or divorcing, before they reached the age of 21.  It was the children of divorced parents who died (on average) five years sooner, than children who did not experience a divorce between their parents.  It was found that, in general, divorce will lower the standard of living for young people, and this makes a significant difference in the longevity of women in particular.
  5. The University of Wisconsin-Madison found, that children of divorced parents will often times fall behind in their social and math skills.  They will experience more stress and anxiety, and this in turn may lower their self-esteem.  Math skills are affected the most, because this is a cumulative learning experience, and it is tough to catch up, if you fall behind.  For instance, if you do not grasp the concept that one plus one equals two, then you will never understand the concept of multiplication.

Children of divorced parents are more likely to experience a divorce themselves.  More than likely, they may marry young and to someone who is also from a broken home.  This combination can increase the risk of experiencing a divorce three-fold.