Children, who are very sensitive to feelings and emotions, get adversely affected by parental divorce in a myriad different ways. Read to know about effects of divorce on children.

Effects Of Divorce On Children

Children are as receptive to different moods and emotions as adults. In fact, many a times even more. Since this is a phase when their psychological mindset and behavior is still getting moulded, certain distressing episodes like divorce of parents tend to affect them adversely. It is to be remembered that divorce may affect children differently depending upon their age, gender and other such aspects. In many cases when not tended carefully, such memories get embedded in their psyche hampering proper growth of their personality in long run. Divorce leads to massive change in the life of children, irrespective of their age. The effects are different for different age groups, yet it is hard for the children to cope in the absence of one parent. It is as challenging for them as it is for the couple. To know, understand and settle with the fact that their parents cannot be together and that they have to live with one of them, demands a lot of time and support from the parents. Read this article to know about the effects of divorce on children.
How Divorce Affects Children
  • Some children fret that their divorced parents do not love them anymore and thus, begin to feel lonely. 
  • They feel helpless and unable to do anything to get both their parents together.
  • Even though the children may not show or express anger, they do tend to feel angry over the entire incident of parental divorce.
  • Many times, children end up thinking that they are at fault. A lot of them begin to think that it is because of something they did or said that lead to divorce.
  • Children grieve. Divorce creates a sense of loss in the lives of both children and the divorced parents. So children too experience a grieving phase quite similar to that of death.
  • They undergo mental conflicts of loyalty towards both parents.
  • Outward adverse behavior of a divorce in kids may range from mild ones like sleeping disorder to very harmful ones like suicidal tendencies, drug abuse or resorting to violence.
  • Some other fallouts of divorce in the behavior of children could be problems in school, nervousness, bed-wetting, etc. This mostly happens in case of children between the ages of three and five.
  • Children may turn increasingly clingy and whiny.
  • Some may even feel that they have to ‘take care’ of their parents.
  • Infants may not understand divorce, but they react to the changes in the moods or energy level of their parents. They may lose their appetite or have an upset stomach.
  • Children from three to five years of (preschool), hold themselves responsible for the divorce of their parents. Their utmost fear of abandoned or left alone may lead to some serious changes in behavior. They may become, depressed or annoyed.
  • Of all the age groups of children, the ones attending elementary school find it very hard to deal with the annulment of their parents’ marriage. Psychologists believe that the adjustment to parental divorce is more in case of school-aged children, than for the younger or older children. Elementary school children are mature enough to realize the pain caused by their parent’s divorce, but are too young to control their emotions or reactions to this pain. The feeling of grief, anxiety, embarrassment, bitterness and extreme anger are some of the major symptoms one find in these children.
  • In case of teenagers, divorce is met with a more mature response, but nonetheless agonizing. They feel pushed towards their adulthood, if they are required to take the responsibility of the younger siblings or in doing the chores. But the one thing which affects the most is the ability to make major decisions in life, mostly related to their career or love life. Most of them lose faith in the Institution of marriage and when it comes to a career choice they may not feel the need to take the advice of their parent(s). This may lead to poor or improper career decisions. Moreover, the pressure of choosing one of their parents, over the other depresses them.
Divorce is painful for both parents and their children. Family breakdown is major social issue which not only affects the children when they are young, but also after they become adults. It has been associated with psychological distress in adulthood. Though divorce has become a common scenario, the effect of it on the mental health of children has not decreased. Therefore, it is vital that parents do their best to help their children in such a situation. For example, minimizing the conflict and hostility between parents after divorce, can prove healthy for the children. Each of the parents should spend more and more time with their children to help them cope with the divorce.

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