The Impact Of Divorce On Teenagers

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody attorneys in Orange CountyDivorce is difficult time for everyone. The couple go through a series of emotional and psychological changes and adjust to the new life. But apart from the parents, the effect of divorce on children is equally painful. Sometimes it can get out of control as children behave differently in different situations.

Being a teenager can be tough. They are neither kids nor adults and sometimes they act differently because of this. And when the parents get divorced, the effect is unique for each teenager.

Adjustment problems

Research has shown that in the first two years after divorce, teenagers have a hard time coping up with the truth. Adjustment becomes difficult and they show varied behaviors. But as time passes, the situation becomes better. They accept the fact that their parents won’t be together anymore and start adjusting to the new life. Most of the teenagers won’t face any negative effects when they grow up.

Emotional and psychological effects

Children have pure emotions and they show what they feel. But in teenagers, it may not always be the same. Witnessing a divorce can be tough for them. They sometimes show an outburst of emotions or don’t show anything at all. As kids, they’ve looked up to their parents as role models and the behavior of parents affects them. If parents use criticism to deal with a certain problem during a divorce, then automatically teenagers feel that criticism is a tool to handle such situations. Similarly, other emotions like anger and fear become a common part of their daily routine to deal with problems.

Feeling distress during a hostile environment is not exclusive to teenagers. It is what each of us do when put in similar situations. When teens witness, their family falling apart, they too feel distressed. Psychological studies show that blood pressure and heart rate increases in children who witness adults fighting. Over time the psychology changes and can result in negative results.

Effect on academic performance

Teens undergoing psychological and emotional changes have a hard time concentrating on their academic performance. So, naturally, their grades go down. This is very evident in intelligent children who have fared better than their peers in school. The drop in grades is due to emotional problems and not due to emotions. Even teachers find it hard to teach teens undergoing emotional issues. With more and more parents getting divorced each year, the number of such teens are increasing.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation