Many factors may heavily contribute to substance use among kids, and parental divorce is one of them. Divorce is a multidimensional process that leaves children with anger, confusion, frustration, and embarrassment. Witnessing the love of parents fading away is usually a painful situation for the kids. They tend to feel ashamed and lonely. Here are five things that you should know about the impact divorce has on substance use among the kids:
1. Stress Leads To Substance Use Among Kids
Divorce comes with these accompanying stressors that make it even more difficult for the kids to cope with. It induces a massive change in their lives. Witnessing the love of parents falling apart, loss of daily contact with one parent, and moving to a new home is stressing for the kids. The link between addiction and divorce is intertwined because kids end up using drugs so that they can relieve the stress they are going through, leading to addiction. Research shows that kids living with single parents are more prone to substance abuse compared to kids living with both parents. Drug abuse usually starts as a coping mechanism of the stressful events in the kids’ life. (See also: Stress in Children: How to Spot it and Help Kids Cope)
2. Less Parental Supervision Triggers Substance Use
During the divorce process, parents are busy going through their emotional turmoil. They end up focusing more on the divorce. They are not there for their kids in their time of need. This leads to poor parent-child communication as they may not be aware of what their kids are going through. Poor parental supervision and monitoring usually result in high substance use among the kids. Children will start using tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana without their parents’ knowledge.
3. Children From Divorced Parents Are Susceptible To Peer Pressure
When parents are not there for their kids to guide them, the kids turn to their peers for comfort, attention, support, and protection, things that their parents should have been providing. Their peers will end up introducing them to drugs. Associating themselves with other teens who are going through the same problem is comforting and can lead to more substance abuse, eventually leading to addiction.
4. Grief And Loss Leads To Drug Addiction
Divorce is a loss that causes grief to the kids. Children will always have questions on why their parent’s relationship could not work. Seeing their parents divorce is a loss for them. They will feel the absence of love and togetherness in the family and instead of bombarding you with unanswered questions, they see drugs as their safe harbor.
5. Adjusting To Divorce Causes Substance Use
Kids will always have a rough time adjusting to whatever changes that came with the divorce. This rough time usually leads to substance use a process caused by behavioral change. Kids develop anger in the process and a ‘don’t care’ attitude that makes them commit crimes and engages in drugs and alcohol.
About The Author:
Steve Freps is an individual who is planning to continue medical studies abroad in Australia. Global health, Human Rights, Education, & Poverty Alleviation are important to him.