On June 3rd of 2013, an angry little 6 yr. old boy from Idaho took off his belt, tied it around the handle of the freezer and hung himself. This was not his first attempt at suicide. Sad to say, this time it was his last because he succeeded. Although he might not have understood the ramifications of his act, he was deliberate in his actions.
The history of this little boy showed major anger issues stemming from the divorce of his parents. Although it is a rare occurrence in children this young, what are not so rare are the many pre-teens and teens that are in similar cases of crisis today.
I have seen my share of children in the same situations in the last 10 years; from outbursts of anger to running away, cutting, and suicidal tendencies. The breaking down of a family from divorce can cause pivotal changes in a child’s mental, behavioral and physical state.
Were you ever a child affected from divorce? What about your children?
After Effects from Divorce in a Child
Depression and Deep Sadness
Eating Disorders (Bulimia and Anorexia)
Suicidal Behavior (broken homes suffer high rate of suicide in children)
Rebellious/Defiant Behavior/Running away
Physical Illness (Headaches, exhaustion, stomach aches, etc…)
Difficulty in building relationships
Succumbing to Teenage Pregnancy and Promiscuity
Future marital problems
Falling grades, lack of concentration, most like repeat a grade or drop out
Lose respect in parents and will find new families such as gangs
Prone to experimental drugs and alcohol
Immediate and Long Term Effects
The statistics on children from divorced homes is not a pretty picture. To give you an understanding of how severe it is, children living in a home with one parent who is deceased are much more adjusted than those from a divorced home.
So what can you do if you are a divorced parent?
1. If it is not a volatile situation where abuse is involved, have your child/teen stay connected as much as possible with the parent who has left home.
2. Choose words and actions carefully to keep an emotional calm and less confusion.
3. Don’t play the blame game or bad guy vs. good guy. No one wins. If anything, your child lost the most.
4. Show the child/teen that it isn’t their fault. Let them know that it is a grown up problem.
5. Show forgiveness towards the other parent. No one is better than the other. Everyone makes mistakes and does wrong-doings. It is what we do with our life from that moment on that makes the difference to our child/teen.
6. Have a mediator (Pastor, Counselor, Therapist, Psychologist or Psychiatrist) help you with any issues that need to be evaluated such as the care for your child, support for your child, and meeting the needs of that child.
7. Reach out to a support group as a parent as well as a support group for your child if one is available in your area.
8. The parent who does not live at home has more of the burden of impact on the child/teen. Make it a priority to invest more time into their lives.
9. If the absentee parent is not available, make an effort to build a relationship with another family member such as a grandparent, uncle/aunt or older adult sibling, that can participate in family outings, school programs, and special occasions that can make a good mentor or impact in the child/teen’s life.
10. Get involved in a hobby and/or sport with your child. Build up their interests and goals that they have. It will help them stay more focused on positive things.
11. Pray for your child/teen. They don’t just need the physical, mental and emotional support but also spiritual support as well. Have others from the Church pray for your family as well.
12. For the Parent – You need a safe environment to unload your emotional and mental needs. It’s okay to get counseling. You are going through changes as well. When you are healthy in those areas, your child/teen will also learn to be healthier too.