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Minimizing the Effects of Divorce on Children

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The impact of a divorce on a family can often be severe. When a couple is going through a marital break-up, the children are often the ones most affected, as well as the ones given the least amount of attention.

Children may act out in the following ways as he or she adjusts to the new family situation:

-Anger directed towards others and themselves;
-Frequent breaking of rules;
-Drug and/or alcohol abuse;
-Destructive behaviors;
-Frequent guilt;
-Problems with defiance;

-Increasing isolation or withdrawal from friends and family;
-Thoughts of suicide or violence; and
-A failure to acknowledge responsibility

While divorce affects some children more than others, how parents behave during this time will frame the child's behavior. The child’s gender, age, psychological health, and maturity will also play a role.

A child's self-esteem may also be up-ended with the child blaming him or herself for the divorce. Children may also feel that they did something wrong that made the parents not want to be with them.

Children are also affected in the area of security. Fears that both parents will abandon them are common, as well as wondering what is going to happen to them next. The absence of one parent can also make the child feel very lonely.

A divorce impacts a whole family structure. In some cases, a divorce will mean that a child may lose a parent, and will only see them once or twice a year. This may also cause a child to lose contact with the family of non-custodial parent, as the child may be less likely to see those grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Holidays, birthday parties and activities from day-to-day are also greatly affected by divorce.

Divorce will not be easy for a parent, but a parent is a grown adult who has hopefully managed to maintain coping skills. Children, are not as equipped in this area. If you are a parent and are going through a divorce, you need to make the way that the divorce impacts your children your top number one priority.

Add a Comment2 Comments

Minimizing the effects of divorce on kids can really start from the very first conversation. Before you and your ex sit down to tell the kids, try to come up with a game plan: http://www.weinbergerlawgroup.com/blog/newjersey-child-parenting-issues/talking-to-your-child-about-divorce/

May 27, 2013 - 7:58am
EmpowHER Guest

This article is right on! Children and divorce are not mutually exclusive. The childs best interest needs to be part of every decision.

Dr. SueAnne Magyar-Hill


January 8, 2011 - 5:15pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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