The hardships faced by children of divorce

The impact of divorce falls heavily on the adults involved, but their children bear the weight just as greatly.

Sarah Sander

The impact of divorce falls heavily on the adults involved, but their children bear the weight just as greatly.

Divorce– a complete separation of two things

“Divorce is by far the worst thing I have experienced emotionally and mentally.” The family of Noah Johnson, a junior at Lambert High School, was torn apart following his parent’s divorce. He used to witness two happy people, in love, the concrete foundation of a family. What he has now is unceasing tension and vigorous escapes to leave the house. His home is that of both parents, despite the divorce papers. Noah never feels at ease, in this home of perpetual arguing. And, it’s not just Noah who agonizes through the backlash of his parent’s divorce. His mother has a new burden of countless medical issues (high blood pressure, dizziness, weight gain, etc.) initiated by the divorce. Noah’s little sister has been pushed to her breaking point on numerous occasions, telling her father that she won’t love him again until he moves out. This is Noah’s reality.

“Our family is close in individual households, but never as a single full household anymore.” Yet another junior at Lambert High School, Coby Stone, underwent a colossal divorce in the 5th grade. This divorce drove Coby to counseling, which he attended once a week until he entered the 8th grade. His family was drastically impacted by the divorce, forming a split that wasn’t present beforehand. Their family used to be close, dwelling together, under one roof. Now, his weekends are planned according to the house he’ll be staying at. He switches off holidays according to whose “turn” it is, never spending a holiday with his entire family. Coby only sees his mother four days out of each month, bestowing him with a constant sense of missing her.

“There are defining moments in my life that I have never been able to forget. One of them was the evening that my parents told me that they were getting a divorce.” Jessica Ventre, an AP Environmental teacher at Lambert High School, still to this day suffers with her parents’ divorce. Sat down by her parents at age 5, Jessica Ventre was told that things would no longer be okay.  It shaped her in ways she never could have assumed; pieces of the conversation are still manifested in her mind. Her parents officially divorced when she was 6 years old, entirely eliminating her father from the picture. She has a good-natured step father, but he never replaced the hole her father left. The divorce initiated numerous issues within her. She battled with self-esteem issues growing up, stemming from a feeling of abandonment. Her siblings had similar, though varying, reactions. Her younger sister faced abandonment issues and her brother suffered through years of severe anger. They both have an unhealthy view of themselves, their partners, and relationships in general. Her own issues further developed into years of anger and sadness, with a difficulty to cope. She has been seeing a psychologist, throughout her adult years, in order to help positively redefine herself and her views.

As Pat Conroy once said “When mom and dad went to war the only prisoners they took were the children.” The divorce of a parent in the personal history of a child is an event that significantly alters their lives and often times causes monumental affects upon that child. Some children have the ability to understand the divorce; whereas others struggle immensely during the transition, such as Noah Johnson, Coby Stone, and Jessica Ventre. A divorce has the ability to impact a child throughout various aspects of his of her life, completely disrupting it. A child’s academic performance has the potential to be negatively affected due to a divorce, as their focus is centered upon their family dynamics, rather than school. This disruption can occur further among the child’s social life, causing the children to suffer from various insecurities and a feeling of isolation, as was present in Jessica Ventre’s case. This often comes from a sensation of guilt, as children may feel as if they caused the divorce through a wrong doing. This guilty feeling doesn’t only affect their social life, but has the ability to cause severe pressure, depression, stress, and various health complications, such as were displayed by the mother of Noah Johnson. These health complications often times develop later on in life, as children who have experienced divorce in the past 20 years are more likely to smoke or use prescription drugs.

Divorce has the ability to leave a child’s life in utter disarray. However, with hard work and perseverance a life of beauty is oftentimes possible. This life may be attained through various forms of help, one of which is a divorce care center. DivorceCare for Kids is a program where children are taught how to efficiently cope with their situation. Often times called DC4K, this program builds an environment so that the kids can learn to successfully process their feelings and proficiently communicate with their parents. It’s a 13-week program that consists of games, crafts, role play, discussion time, and journaling. It is constructed in such a way that children can effectively move forward with their life. Call 800-489-7778 to get in touch with DivorceCare for Kids.