How Divorce Can Affect Your Child’s Academic and Social Skills

It is no secret that divorce can cause a child’s life to completely flip upside down, as a Bloomington family lawyer knows only too well. Children who have divorced parents are actually twice as likely to repeat a grade in elementary school and around six times as likely to be expelled or suspended in middle and high school. After witnessing the divorce of their parents, many children become even more afraid of being abandoned, feel like they are less loved than they previously were, and more prone to cause bodily harm to themselves. They tend to even carry these problems to school. Children of divorced parents are also more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, are more suicidal, have more children out of wedlock, have a higher risk of becoming homeless, and are twice as likely to commit violent acts compared to children from two parent homes. These alarming numbers help to underscore the academic and social effects of divorce on children. A child who has learning difficulties may have progress erased when a divorce comes into play.

Kids who are otherwise smart become uncooperative and unattentative when they are overwhelmed by the divorce and school. They may turn rebellious and bully other children so that they can feel as if they are in control. Children, just like adults, cope with internal stress in different ways. Divorce can introduce a massive change of lifestyle into a child’s life, regardless of their age. Having to witness the loss of love between your parents or having to choose a side while going back and forth between the two households can take its toll on a child. The daily absence of one parent can create a challenging circumstance that can be hard to cope with. If your child is having any difficulties learning or focusing in school, you should consult their school therapist and help get a better understanding on how to help. Children are heavily dependent on their parents. For a younger child, divorce can shake their trust in depedency on their parents because they are now behaving in a way that is extremely undependable. You are, in a way, surgically dividing the family into two different households that the child must go back and forth between. This can cause an increase of instability for the child. For parents who divorce and have a teenager, you should keep in mind that they will have an increased dedication to their own self interest. This should be harnessed. You can do so by insisting on increased responsibility as more separation and independence from the divorce occurs, but not too much. Allow them to go out with friends but set a curfew. This will make it easier for them to cope.

Thank you to our friends Pioletti & Pioletti for their insight into the effect of divorce on children and family law.