Couples splitting up is never a pretty sight. Neither party leaves without emotional scars. However, the biggest victims and perhaps the most hurt by this split are the children. Stuck in a situation that they have no control over and suffering consequences for something that had no role in, kids are challenged at an emotional level that may even test the nerves and patience of a strong adult. Forced into a single parent family, kids become vulnerable to various psychological effects, each almost equally disastrous in nature.
Resentment and Sense of Inferiority
Kids want both their parents to be there with them to feel whole, but when the split happens, they are reduced to just one parent. Single parent can try their very best to not let their kids feel that the absence of the missing parent, but they just can’t fill the void. Kids hear their peers talking about how good their parents and get reminded of their own circumstances, which they resent. This resentment leads to feelings of inferiority, which in turn may affect their overall confidence. They stop believing in themselves and just want to be left alone. They have trouble making friends, talking to people, and setting goals for themselves. This feeling of inferiority increases overtime, and has negative psychosocial effects that can ruin them for life.
Kids who see their parents fight, get divorced, or die are at a higher risk of developing emotional issues than their nuclear family counterparts. These emotional problems can cause their lives to become a mess. To cope with these issues, they may turn to alcohol, drugs, or a life of crime. All three choices help them take their mind off the problems that are occurring in their domestic life, hence giving them a false perception of peace. It starts as a onetime thing, but soon it becomes a regular thing for them. They regularly use drugs, drink alcohol, and some of them even resort to small-time crimes. If not stopped at an early stage, all three of these problems can become bigger, and can cause numerous issues for them as well as the parent they are living with.
Single parents are rarely available for their kids because they have bills to pay, work to do, places to be at, etc. Already emotionally disturbed because of having to live with a single parent, kids begin to perceive their parent’s non-availability as a sign of their insignificance for the latter. They begin to think of themselves as unwanted and even more alone than before. This makes them even more depressed and fills up their head with all kinds of negative thoughts.
Tips for Minimizing the Negative Psychological Effects
It’s never easy to keep a child completely protected from the effects of having to live without a parent. However, there are certain measures that can help reduce the impact. This may put additional responsibility on the parent, but it something they need to do if they wish for their kids to stay mentally strong and healthy.
- A single parent should try to talk with their kids every day at least once about their day, their problems, their school, their daily life, etc.;
- If kids are suffering emotionally, then the single parent should go out of their way to give them the confidence that they so badly need;
- Kids look up to their parents, so the latter should try to be a role model that kids can look up to;
- Making ends meet is necessary, but that shouldn’t be allowed to get in the way of giving time to kids and reminding them of their importance.
Kids are always hungry for love and attention. Depriving them of something as basic as that can disrupt their psychological development, put their entire future at stake. The importance of shielding them from the potential effects of missing a parent simply cannot be emphasized enough.