Parental divorce wreaks havoc on the psychological stability of children. Children from divorced families have more emotional and behavioural and less psychological well-being in their adult years than adults from intact families.
Long-term effects of divorce on children include behavioral and social problems, trouble with relationships, prone to substance abuse, depression, poor education and socio-economic position. Divorce could lead to a traumatic experience for children to perpetrate crime and violence from adolescence into adulthood. Parents should seek help to support their children cope with the upset of a divorce.
The effects of separation or divorce on children and young people can be destructive. According to an African adage, ‘when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers’. Meaning, when the large fight, it is the small who suffer or the weak get hurt in conflicts between the powerful. When parents argue or fight, it is the children that suffer most.
Economic hardships, emotional problems and psychological distress are associated with the break-up of families. This often leads to financially disabled, depressed and homeless mothers raising children alone.
The consequences in the lives of children and adolescents include homelessness, poverty, lack of education, behavioural and psychological problems, impulsive behaviour, increased peer conflicts and aggressive behaviours. These negative effects are avoidable.
It is not estrangement or divorce in itself that inflicts psychological damage on children it is how it is handled. Parents can continue to love their children. They can continue to be actively involved in the lives of the children and can cooperate to promote their health, safety and well-being during separation.
Co-parenting after separation or divorce when two parents work together to raise a child even though they are separated or divorced and no longer live together. It is associated with happier, healthier children.