how is the psyche of children affected by the separation of parents?

The worrying increase in divorce cases is a source of harm for children, requiring greater attention to be paid to this societal phenomenon and research to be undertaken into the real economic, social or psychological reasons which lead to the dissolution of the marriage pact, which is “the most hated lawful thing” in Islam.

Recent indicators are sounding the alarm about this worrying increase which primarily affects young couples, with a total of 26,957 divorces in 2021 according to figures provided by the Ministry of Justice.

This situation has paved the way for a societal debate dealing with the increase in divorce cases. Particular attention was given to the material side of the matter including the status of children whose parents are divorced, including custody and pension. Less attention is paid, on the other hand, to the psychic condition of these children who find themselves at the heart of the disturbances of the divorce implying a radical change in their life after the separation of the parents.

On this subject, the child psychiatrist Houda Hjiej affirms that “divorce is not systematically a source of psychological problems in children, but most of them feel the fear of losing their parents or one of them”. “Children of separated parents feel fears about everything that affects their daily life and ask themselves many questions in this regard”she explained, giving the example of questions that can cross the minds of these children such as: “Will I continue to attend the same school? », « Will I have the same quality of life as before the separation of my parents? »

The child psychiatrist noted that in general, “The psychological disorders suffered by some children after divorce result mainly from the negative environment that reigns before, during and after the separation of the parents, that is to say at a time when conflicts and family problems arise” .

On the other hand, continues the specialist, “if the divorce stage takes place without conflict between the parents and the child is assured that he will continue to see his parents on a regular basis, then the divorce does not cause any psychological problems for him”.

Regarding the psychological support of children in the event of divorce, Hjiej stressed the importance of fluid communication, highlighting the role of both parents in this process. “The father and the mother must be oriented at the beginning to help their children to face the repercussions of the divorce, by creating a reassuring environment, favorable to an acceptance of the evolutions of the thing”.

“In the case of a child suffering from disorders requiring treatment, it is necessary to seek the intervention of a specialist to guarantee psychological support”, she insisted. In the same context, the specialist presented a set of advice to parents to help the child face a separation or a divorce, emphasizing in this regard that before reaching the stage of divorce, hostilities should not be displayed and let disputes arise in the presence of the child, but rather try to make the latter feel guilty and reassure him during this period of great uncertainty.

“Children must also understand that separation occurs between two adults, namely the father and the mother, and not between the parents and the child.“, she noted, stressing the importance of a continuous dialogue to reassure and comfort the child so that the divorce stage can pass in all serenity.

After the divorce, the specialist believes ” essential that the party who does not have custody of the children respect the visitation dates and that both parents keep their promises, do not impose too many changes in their lifestyle and give them enough time to accept each change that happens, no matter how small”.

She also advised estranged parents not to project their problems onto their children and not to use them as a means to discredit or get revenge on the ex-spouse. Likewise, ” parents should take care to protect children and not exert psychological pressure on them”she said.

In light of the worrying increase in divorce cases in our society, there is a need for in-depth sociological and psychological studies to examine the reasons why couples are increasingly resorting to divorce, and to propose recommendations and effective solutions that can limit this societal phenomenon.

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