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Study examines how disadvantages such as divorce affect boys

A new study shows that divorce may be harder on boys than on girls due to common societal beliefs.

There is no question that divorce is hard on children in Kew Gardens and elsewhere. Even in situations where there is no animosity between the parents, children are placed in a position where they must adapt to new changes and the loss of both parents in their home.

Encouraged to suppress emotions

A new study shows that boys often struggle more with the effects of life’s disadvantages than girls do. According to The Huffington Post, this is because boys are more limited in expressing their emotions over things. Parents often encourage their sons to be less sensitive as they grow older. While it is okay for girls to cry and express themselves when mom and dad’s marriage has fallen apart, boys are often expected to become the man of the house at a young age.

This places a great psychological and emotional burden on boys as they must refrain from making the same expressions as girls. Instead, they must hide their emotions to prevent being called a sissy and suffer parents’ frustration or anger against them. Parents may unconsciously contribute to the problem by looking to their sons for emotional support. Boys living with their mothers may feel that they need to care for their mother, taking on the role their father used to play.

Loss of trust

Psychology Today points out that children who are not yet adolescents, tend to become more dependent on parents in a divorce. Yet at the same time, their trust has been greatly shaken because the only world they have known has essentially fallen apart. Custody arrangements shift them between parents’ homes or they may only see one parent on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Parents need to understand that children do not look at divorce in the same way they do. They see it as a message that nothing is permanent and regardless of how amicable the divorce is, that there is no guarantee their parents will be there forever. This can create emotional or psychological issues for the child, causing them to act out in different ways.

Providing comfort

For boys especially, their suppressed emotions may emerge in the form of anger, defiance or self-destructive behaviors. They may bully other children, get involved with drugs or alcohol, join a gang, quit school or erupt in emotional rage at their parents.

Therefore, it is important for parents to understand that their male children also have emotions about the divorce and to encourage them to express their thoughts and feelings. Boys need to feel that they can come to their parents for comfort, whether that includes hugs, cuddling or just talking, regardless of their age.

Divorce is hard on everyone in the family. However, New Yorkers may find it helpful to address their concerns with an attorney.