Children and Divorce
Divorce is an issue that impacts nearly 50% of families today. Even in the most amicable situation, divorce takes it’s toll on children. This publication consists of 4 (8 1/2” X 11”) pages of information that addresses the mechanisms by which divorce affects children’s growth and development and offers suggestions for child care providers and teachers to support children going through this challenging life event.
The world of a child is essentially his family. It is the place where the emotional foundations of life are established. In a family a child learns he is lovable and loved; he is deserving of happiness and protection. Family teaches children how to make and sustain loving relationships with others and provides a “secure base” that allows the child to experience the world as predictable and safe. When a child’s world is shattered by divorce, he is often overwhelmed with confusion, sadness, anger, fear and guilt.
No matter how young or old, children have a limited capacity to understand the world of grown-ups and the reasons for divorce. Decades after the fact, most adult children of divorce look back on the event as the most devastating experience of their childhood (Neuman1995). Children often experience a profound sense of alienation, believing they are “different” and the only one who has ever felt these feelings before. Their view of the world as safe and predictable is replaced with feelings of uncertainty, anxiety and fear.