Divorce is almost always a stressful process for children. When a child's parents divorce, there may be adverse effects that take place as a child becomes a young adult, and these problems may continue into adulthood. While long term effects vary from child to child, divorce can result in negative long-term emotional, social and cognitive effects. Divorce can also put a strain on the relationship between a parent and a child.
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Over time, some children of divorce have problems with aggressive impulses, as well as problems managing aggression. Children of divorce can end up suffering from depression. Separation anxiety is another effect of divorce on children over time, as they may grow up with an overwhelming fear of being abandoned; this fear continues into adulthood. Children of divorce may also feel sad and isolated, which can lead to psychological issues, such as eating disorders. Children of divorce may end up feeling worthless within a specific gender role, leading to gender identity issues. In addition, children of divorce tend to begin sexual intercourse behaviours earlier and are more likely to engage in delinquent behaviours.
Children of divorce may suffer from poor relationships and related social issues. Long term, divorce may reduce a child's ability to cultivate and maintain supportive friendships and romantic relationships. Children of divorce may be more likely to divorce as adults. This may be due to intimacy and commitment fears, as well as fears of repeating parents' failures in relationships. Within a marriage, a child of divorce may be less trusting of his own spouse and be less inhibited with regard to using divorce as a solution for a problematic relationship.
A long-term cognitive effect of divorce is that a child may exhibit lower test scores and lower educational attainment than their counterparts. Some of the emotional effects of divorce play a role in children acting out in class and becoming expelled or suspended as a result. When a child carries problems, such as disobedience and fears to school, it affects her performance. In addition, a child whose parents have divorced may become less imaginative and increasingly passive. Therefore, children exposed to divorce may be asked to repeat a grade because of poor performance.
Divorce may have an adverse long term effect on the parent-child relationship. A child of divorce tends to feel lingering resentment towards his parents. An adult children of divorce may feel less affection for her parents. As a result, he may have less contact with his parents. Long term, a child with divorced parents may be less likely to support her parents in old age in comparison with other adults.
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