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Effects of Divorce on Teenagers

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
In a single event such as divorce, families are torn apart and hearts are left wounded forever. Effects of divorce on teenagers and children are lasting and may change their lives altogether.
In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage.
It is often said that a marriage is not just between two individuals, but it is a union of two families. A marriage brings happiness for the two families involved in the union. Unfortunately, people who cannot find a ground for staying married bring immense sorrow to people around them. However, the impact of a failed marriage on other people cannot be emphasized enough unless there are children involved.
Children are as much traumatized by a divorce as their parents, sometimes even more. The brunt of this trauma often brings everlasting changes in a child's psyche. If children from broken homes are not counseled on time, they turn out to be difficult people when they grow up. Effects of divorce on teenagers are particularly disastrous as they are into a fragile state of emotional development.

Causes and Effects of Divorce on Teenagers

Teen years are characterized by a rebellious nature, impulsive behavior, lure of forbidden fruit, peer pressure, disregard for rules and an emotional detachment from parents. Even teenagers from healthy, happy families cannot help but succumb to the whims of teen hormones.
Needless to say, a crisis such as divorce which shakes the very foundation of a family institution triggers the negative feelings in a teenager with more intensity. Divorce effects in teenagers are more pronounced than in small children, as children are yet to attain enough maturity to understand the gravity of the situation.
Also effects of divorce on children are of temporary consequence as compared to teenagers.
Children as well as teenagers start facing trauma long before a divorce. Bitter arguments between parents, mistreatment by one or both parents affects the psyche of children to a great level. Initially, the child may blame himself for the situation and may try to improve it by behaving his best.
However, when he sees no improvement, he withdraws himself and simply awaits an impending divorce. By the time his parents actually divorce, his emotional development has already suffered a major blow. Given below are some of the signs of negative impact of divorce on a teenager.

Resentment Towards Parents

A teenager may show feelings of hatred, anger towards one or both parents. He may continually held one parent responsible for breaking the family. He may blame this parent for depriving him of the love of the other parent. Often, the parent who takes the custody of the child has to bear his wrath.

Dependency on Friends

If the teenager starts spending long hours outside home, with his friends, you should consider this a reason worthy of investigation. During this phase, a child relies heavily on his peers or even random people not related to him. The influence of friends in particular, is very strong. If these friends happen to be a spoilt lot, then the chances of your child treading a wrong path are very high.

Drug Abuse, Crime

Oftentimes, this is an extension of the previous point. Unscrupulous friends dupe emotionally vulnerable teenagers from broken families into doing something that they wouldn't normally do on their own. Such teenagers are tempted to get into narcotics, drug abuse etc. In certain circumstances, they may be even driven to commit crimes.

Sexual Activity

Teenagers who do not find love at home, start seeking it outside. Flings become a part of their life. Children going through parental separation often show premature sexual activity than their counterparts from happy families.

Reckless Behavior

To vent out his anger, frustration, the teenager may resort to reckless behavior. He may skip classes, break school rules, cause nuisance in neighborhood, show streaks of violence at home and do every possible thing to bring embarrassment and sorrow to his parent. This can be perceived as his way of punishing the parent or putting him through such an ordeal.
Such erratic behavior amongst teenagers can be controlled by proper counseling and parental love. Parents must refrain from criticizing their partner in front of children. They must make children understand that if a marriage isn't working then there is no point in staying together.
They must explain that the decision to separate is for the child's benefit and taken only as a last resort. Eventually, a child may understand that staying apart in a broken home is better than staying together with broken hearts.