Muir Wood Teen

Divorce

The United States has the 6th highest divorce rate in the world. Almost 50 percent of all American marriages will end in divorce or separation. That many divorces may make them seem routine, even normal, but their prevalence is exactly what makes it such a serious threat to the healthy mental and physical development of children. Divorce or separation of the parents is one of the ten adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) most commonly screened for if there is a suspicion of trauma. 

Even if the parting of the parents is amicable, it’s a major stressor for children. However, other ACEs—such as domestic violence, parental substance misuse, physical and emotional neglect of the child—are often in play before the separation of the parents actually happens. 

Any additional ACEs compound the psychological trauma the child is experiencing. There is a strong correlation between trauma and substance use disorder (SUD). Addiction and SUD are frequently driven and exacerbated by unresolved trauma—especially childhood trauma. 

As the ACE score increases, so does the risk of disease, social and emotional problems. With an ACE score of 4 or more, things start to get serious. The likelihood of misusing drugs and alcohol rises significantly; the risk of attempted suicide increases by over 1,200 percent.

Even if the divorce itself is the only ACE, the separation of the parents can lead to anxiety and depression in the child which are also correlated with substance abuse. Divorce can make it harder for young people to develop a healthy identity based upon parental role models, make it harder to trust others, and feel displaced. Helping young people resolve the trauma of parental separation and making them understand that they were not the cause, is crucial to allowing them to process the emotional impact and move on.

As the ACE score increases, so does the risk of disease, social and emotional problems. With an ACE score of 4 or more, things start to get serious. The likelihood of misusing drugs and alcohol rises significantly; the risk of attempted suicide increases by over 1,200 percent.

Even if the divorce itself is the only ACE, the separation of the parents can lead to anxiety and depression in the child which are also correlated with substance abuse. Divorce can make it harder for young people to develop a healthy identity based upon parental role models, make it harder to trust others, and feel displaced. Helping young people resolve the trauma of parental separation and making them understand that they were not the cause, is crucial to allowing them to process the emotional impact and move on.

Helping teens without blaming parents

At Muir Wood, we understand that divorce is as painful for parents as it is for children. Our goal is to ally with parents and adolescents to achieve harmony and accord to reduce stress for every member of the family. Muir Wood integrates family therapy into its programming. Parents and family members are provided with private counseling, connected to support resources, and attend joint therapy sessions with their children.