Psychological Effects Of Divorce On Children

Divorce is the term that shakes one to its core especially when kids are involved because it does not only pull apart two people in a relationship but it shatters a home built with so much effort.

Just how despising it can be for a couple it can be even more loathing for children with divorced parents. It is no secret also proven by almost three decades of research; children living with their married, biological parents tend to lead a much better life, physically, emotionally and academically than those with split parents.

Effects of Divorce on Your Children

Divorce is perhaps the most difficult phase of a married couple’s life. Being adults they might eventually get over this tough period but children become a collateral casualty. Their minds are tender and can slip into a state of shock on seeing their parents split forever.

A few of the common behavioral and psychological changes that are observed in such children and how divorce affects these children can be clearly seen and explained.

Children of divorced parents are mostly affected by it because they are at certain age and are unable to understand why he or she does not have a normal life like his friends at school.

Adults when they decide to take a divorce are able to manage their emotions and sometimes are even content when parting ways with the other because they are not happy etc.

However a child who is so used to seeing his mother and father together cannot come to terms with this new setting and might take a long time to explain himself that this is how it’s going to be from now on.

Research says kids whose parents live together have better emotional, physical and social lives. They are more stable beings because they have their parents to turn to when they need help.

On the other hand broken homes create broken kids that become unstable adults who have frustration built in them.

This frustration can also be seen in kids at school who come from homes where they have single parents or divorced parents. They are unable to control themselves.

Child’s Psychological Health

Anxiety, depression, nervousness are just a few of the psychological aspects that are seen in children of divorced parents. They are unable to focus on their studies, take part in other activities.

These children have more questions in their minds than answers. It is already a devastating period for the parents going through a divorce and they might also be emotionally unstable.

Events as traumatic as a divorce make a child heavily anxious. However younger children are more prone to it than older ones since they are relatively more attached and depend on their parents.

Things like changing a new school, moving to a new home and living with a single parent who feels a little more frazzled are just a few of the additional stressors that make divorce more difficult.

Moreover such children may feel disillusioned and distressed due to lack of comprehensive emotional support from the parents. This can be worsened when the offspring is either looked after by one parent and has no contact with the other or has no contact with either of their parents.

Furthermore the child may also feel responsible for the divorce to some extent and this causes extreme constant stress.

How Divorce Affects Teenagers

Teenagers may become angry about a divorce and the changes that it creates. They will either blame one parent for the dissolution of the marriage or they will resent one or both parents for the upheaval in the family.

This feeling eventually leads to long term effects such as depression and lack of trust in others and a negative mindset thus not able to maintain healthy relationships.

Academic Performance

Nonetheless, divorce can heavily affect the child’s academic performance, as stated above. The child loses his interest in studies and other activities, usually because of not being able to concentrate.

This condition gradually affects their grades and once they experience their poor performances it automatically causes them to lose attentiveness.

A study publishes in 2019 suggested kids from divorced families tend to have trouble with school if the divorce was unexpected, whereas children from families were divorce was likely didn’t have the same outcome.

Children and Drug Usage

Adolescents with divorced parents are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as substance use and early sexual activities. They drink alcohol earlier and report higher alcohol, marijuana, tobacco and drug usage than their peers. And all these frequencies increase as the child grows old.

Tips for Divorcing Parents

  1. Parents should sit down with their children and should talk to them about their feelings regarding the situation. Let them talk freely. Assure the kids that their feelings are important. Don’t try to change the child’s feelings let them say what they really want to. Be ready to answer all the questions your child asks.
  2. Keep your adult conflicts away from the children. Don’t make your children hate the other parent by saying negative things about them; this will upset the child’s mind.
  3. Make your child feel that he or she wasn’t the reason for the divorce because the child may feel guilty so you need to reassure that this is not their fault.
  4. Tell your child that both parents will still love them no matter what because the child might start to feel left alone and not loved.
  5. You need to keep your child motivated and tell to do well no matter what. This is for their academics, because they have started to lose their interest and need someone to tell them they can do it.
  6. Avoid making your child the target to your anger when you are actually angry.


In the end just a little reminder, think before you take this huge step, you never know how this all will end up.

At least you can make the situation better and make your child suffer less because divorce affects the children regardless of age, gender, and culture.

It may trigger an adjustment disorder in children that resolves within a few months.

Alexa Opal Hamilton

Alexa Opal Hamilton is the author of three books and her genres range from dystopian Sci-fi to Romance. She is also a comedy writer who has written sitcom spec scripts, along with hilariously animated blogs and comic strips. Born and raised in west Texas, Alexa now travels all over North America (usually moving twice a year) with her hockey-player husband and two children. When she's not writing, Alexa enjoys reading, running and spending time with her family.

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