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The Myth Concerning Children and Divorce

 

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There is a myth currently circulating about the effect of divorce on children. Some are of the belief that since divorce has become so common, children are better able to deal with it. This is complete rubbish and is rejected by the evidence.

Just because something is more common doesn’t make it any easier to adjust to:

Divorced parents are often in denial about how badly the break-up has damaged their children, a survey has found.

More than three quarters believed their children had ‘coped well’ – even though just 18 per cent of youngsters said they were happy with the situation.

Many parents fail to notice that their children are turning to drink and drugs, or even considering suicide, the poll found. Some were insensitive enough to break the news of the divorce to their children by text.

One in five of the children polled felt there was no point confiding in either their mother or father because they were ‘too wrapped up in themselves’.

The survey, by parenting website Netmums, polled about 1,000 divorced parents and 100 children aged eight to 18 from broken homes.

Although it featured only a relatively small pool of youngsters, a stark picture emerged of the struggles that many of them face when coping with their parents’ break-up.

One in 20 had turned to alcohol and one in nine had deliberately wounded themselves. A further 6 per cent had considered suicide, while two of those polled had tried to kill themselves.

Almost a third described themselves as devastated by divorce, while one in 12 thought that it meant their mothers and fathers ‘didn’t love them’ and had ‘let  them down’.

But despite the damage wrought by their parents splitting, few children felt able to speak openly and honestly about their emotions.

Nearly 40 per cent said they hid their feelings from their parents because they did not want to  upset them.

Many children felt forced to look after their mothers and fathers as the relationship broke down, and 35 per cent claimed that one parent had tried to turn them against  the other.

To make things worse, parents often vastly underestimated the impact of their behaviour on their sons and daughters, the survey found. Only 8 per cent admitted trying to turn their children against their partner.

And just 10 per cent said their children had seen them fighting – even though 31 per cent of youngsters told of witnessing rows.

One in ten knew their children were hiding their true feelings about the divorce but fewer than one per cent were aware of them drinking, self harming or taking drugs to cope.

 

Click on the link to read The Psychological Impact of Divorce on Children

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