Approximately 10% of kids in households today go through some kind of psychological problem warranting a therapist or psychologist. In children of divorced parents, the figure goes up to thirty or forty percent.
A divorce can have traumatic psychological effects on a kid. Unfortunately, a lot of parents fail to realize this. This is partially due to the fact that they may be experiencing anger and hurt themselves and are unable to empathize with their children's feelings. But often it is simply that the parents don't realize just how much their kid is being affected by the divorce.
One trend that is helping to ease this problem is the amount of divorce instruction programs shooting up in many states across the country. At present the number of these programs stands at over a thousand. Some of the programs are available on line as well.
Typically these programs focus on the following main issues:
1) Working to eliminate or reduce parental fighting in front of the children - When a kid sees his mother and father constantly fighting, it causes feelings of stress and anxiety in them. But, even more important, you are teaching them how to act in relationships. Kids are like sponges, they absorb what they see, especially from their parents. By fighting in front of your children you are, in effect, telling them that this is the way to resolve problems. A divorce education program will show you a better way of handling conflicts.
2) Don't use the kids as pawns - Your children are not bargaining chips to be used in dissensions with your spouse in order to win fights or to get your way. It can be easy to forget this, particularly if you have self esteem issues yourself. Whether the issue is parental custody, child support, visitation privileges, or something else - never treat your children like chess pieces. Unless you wish them to grow up with large emotional and psychological issues.
3) Don't try to turn the child against a parent - Often, one of the parents will try to prevent the other parent from seeing or being with the kid. Most likely it's a ill-conceived endeavor to "punish" the other parent. On the other hand, it may simply be mean spiritedness. Or it may be one parent afraid to give up control. Unless there is some underlying issue why one parent shouldn't see the child, such as past child abuse, this does no good for the kid at all. To have the best chance of growing up well adjusted, kids need a sound relationship with both of their parents.
4) Remembering that the child's welfare come's first - Getting a divorce is difficult, we know. But it's not all about the parents. It's about everyone in the family relationship - parents and kids alike. Keeping this simple fact in mind will not only make the transition easier for the kids, it often improves the relationship between the divorcing parents as well. Keeping the welfare of your kids at the forefront of your mind, makes the whole divorce and after divorce more civil.
For those that are greatly concerned with their child's welfare and would like to do all they can to protect them once the divorce has gone through, think about joining a divorce education programs. A divorce education program can do all of that and more.