The Effects of Parental Divorce on Children

‘Nearly one of every three of us experiences psychiatric symptoms each year.’ This could be a temporary sign of anxiety, stress, or sadness, or a long-term disabling form of any three of these symptoms and many more (Hicks 2). Mental health is an important part of people’s lives, so important in fact, that it can either help or hinder anyone’s daily life. Mental health needs just as much attention as the body, especially during adolescence, a period when the chemical makeup of the brain is constantly changing and growing.

Teenagers that have mental illnesses have become more apparent since divorce rates and domestic violence increased. Teenagers are already in an imbalanced state during their growth that when they grow up in unstable families it can lead to more pain, restriction, and, eventually, create mental illnesses.

The main contributing factor to the negative change in mental health in most teenagers revolves around their family, either from factors of dysfunctional parenting, divorce, or any other form of family imbalance. As a result of these causes, there are many different psychological symptoms and illnesses that any adolescent can experience, and every situation is different, which produces unique problems in a person. Among those in this type of situation, the most common mental syndrome is depression.

A few of the mental disorders teenagers can develop and experience is adjustment disorder, temporary emotional reactions to stress, anxiety disorders, such as panic attacks and disabling worries, and bipolar disorder, alternating periods of depression and hyperactivity. In some extreme cases, teenagers could develop schizophrenia, which includes hallucinations and disorganized thinking, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction to alcohol and drugs (Hicks 5).

Divorce can create short-term stress and depression for a child. In addition to that, it can also translate into adulthood and create long-term problems for the adolescent in the future. ‘Research has shown that an individual’s experiences early in life may have serious effects later in life. The potential instability and insecurity in a child’s life caused by a family breakup may continue for a long time. This insecurity could induce substance abuse, crime, and low educational outcomes’ (Gustavsen et al. 474). The impact is serious and consequential to the life of teenagers that it potentially exposes them to wrong decisions and dangerous situations and expands those issues into their adulthood.

The struggles a teenager can have from being in a dysfunctional family or experiencing their parents’ divorce brings many issues into their social life, school, and home. Depending on how severe the stressors are for a child during a divorce, it can affect how impacting certain difficulties are for a child. Those in a stressful environment might not be distinguishable from their peers; however, other teenagers could show a decline in school, behavior, and relationships (Kelly and Robert 355, 357).

Stressors that contribute to impacting teenagers lives are disruptions in parent-child relationships, loss of emotional support, continuing discord between former spouses, economic hardships, and an increase in negative life events, such as moving. Following the hardships, the ways a teenager copes during the process includes support from friends or other family members, therapeutic interventions, and focusing on hobbies or activities that draw them away from their thoughts. After a highly conflicted marriage, it is likely that improvements in mental health can happen in time (Amato 1282).