The student news site of Omaha North High Magnet School

Divorce affects more than just two

October 22, 2014

There’s no way to child-proof a divorce.

Divorce affects the children involved but not in “any one way” according to Liliane Jamal, Omaha North High Magnet school counselor.

“There are too many variables to label the effect divorce has on children as one thing,” said Eddie Reece, psychotherapist in Minnesota.

A major factor that determines how the child takes the divorce is how the child is coping. It is important for the child to talk to someone even if they feel they don’t need to.

“Doing this [talking to someone] allows the child to just get the feelings out,” explained Liliane Jamal.

Jamal said to find a trusted adult because friends only help in “one way.”

“Friends care and listen but by finding a trusted adult to talk to, the child can get more help,” Jamal said.

“Dealing with parents splitting is stressful and a child can only make it more stressful if they don’t talk to someone,” said Reece.

Jamal believes the situation becomes more stressful for the child when the court gets involved. When the parents fight for who gets custody it can make the child feel guilt and blame for the fighting. The child then goes from having both parents to the sudden change of only living with one or alternating between both parents.

“At first it seemed tedious switching between my mom and dad. It wasn’t until about a month after [the divorce] I was starting to accept everything,” said Arturo Gallegos-Zaragoza, freshman.

The Harvard University Press states that children who experience the divorce of their parents are more likely to have lower grades.

Many reasons could explain the lower grades. One of the examples Jamal gave was the child could have loss of sleep making it harder to focus.

“By switching between houses, the child is risking not having what they need for schoolwork with them,” said Reece, to explain why he feels children of divorce have lower grades.

Nicholas H. Wolfinger, University of Utah researcher, has been doing research on children of divorce for a decade and suggests that children of divorce are more likely to get divorced themselves.

“Parents teach their children through example,” said Reece. “They show their children how marriage should be. If they fight and aren’t affectionate to each other that’s what their children will learn and mimic when they’re older.”

Fear of commitment could become an issue for children of divorce later on in their lives. Trust would become an issue which mostly happens when the child copes unhealthily stated Jamal.

“The best thing for the child is for the parents to teach them to do relationships well, whether they stay together or not,” explained Reece.

“Communicate with your family. If you keep it in it will eventually come out in a negative way,” advises Jamal to child of divorce.

“Negative ways” could be anything from cutting, doing drugs, or destruction of property.

“It all depends on the child,” Jamal repeatedly said. “They could react to the divorce in a number of ways.”

Omaha North High Magnet provides a community counselor, Charlene Hills, for any student going through their parents’ divorce or any issue a student needs to talk about. The community counselor is available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in the Curriculum Center.

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