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What are the Negative Effects of Divorce on Children?

Divorce is the legal way of leaving a toxic partner, but getting divorced is never easy, especially if you have children. They are the worst sufferers! The aftermaths are pretty serious and can get out of hand if necessary steps are not taken on time. Truly speaking, Divorce will give 180 degrees opposite feeling of getting married.

This blog explains what are the negative effects of divorce on children and how to help them cope with the situation. So, keep reading till the end.

What are the Negative Effects of Divorce on Children?

Here is a list of the most common effects of divorce and signs that a child may express their emotions in response to their parents’ separation:

Gets Angry

Anger issues can be one of the drastic effects of a divorce on children. Well, it is logical if you give it some thought.

Their entire world tends to change, and they literally don’t have any control over it. Even older adults get angry if changes happen in their life against their will. And as a child, it is certainly much to digest.

Although persons of any age can experience anger, school-goers and teenagers are the most affected ones who depend directly on their parents. Besides the pain of their parent’s separation, the feelings of helplessness or being left strike these emotions.

Given that some children even blame themselves for their parent’s divorce, ultimately leading to internalized anger. This form of anger is more severe than expressing anger.

Becoming Anti-Social

It is another common negative effects of divorce on children. Such as, extroverted and fun-loving children may suddenly distance themselves from all social activities. Instead of staying among the crowd, they now prefer to stay alone and quiet.

Well, the ultimate reasons for these sudden changes refer to only one thing – they probably have a lot of things ongoing in their minds right now. As a result, participating in any social events or simply hanging out with friends may seem painful to them.

Seeing their parents’ separation is a lot for a child, especially if they once lived as a happy family. As a result, it is normal for them to feel anxious and build up a low self-image at that phase of life.

Whether introverted or extroverted, every parent needs to step up and help their child pass this stage of life. Otherwise, chances are high that your child may get lost by getting trapped in their world. Spending as much time as possible with your child to regain their lost self-confidence is advisable.

Academic Grades Dropping!

In almost all cases, the biggest challenge children undergo through their parent’s separation is coping with their academic life. Not everyone can handle the emotional stress of their parents getting a divorce.

This, in return, tends to affect their study, eventually affecting their school grades. These effects can be seen early, and children from 13 to 18 see the most noticeable drop in grades.

There are several probable explanations of why these things may happen. Such as, the youngster may feel ignored, depressed, or distracted due to increasing conflicts between their parents.

All these things combined can play quite a significant role in a child’s mental health, affecting their grades in the meantime. However, if the situation continues, it is a matter of time before the child will lose interest in pursuing their studies.

The Little Ones May Show Signs of Regression

Between the ages of 6 to 18, toddlers and preschoolers may return to habits including clinginess, bedwetting, thumb sucking, tantrums, etc. Children are said to be the smartest at that age.

Although their tender brains may not be able to process the entire concept of divorce, they can easily understand anything wrong.

So, if you observe any regression, it can be a sign from them depicting that they are under severe stress or having difficulty adjusting to a new environment.

These actions can be quite concerning, and you might not know how to help your baby. You are the only person who can help your child at their direst time.

Your actions are the things that will make them feel safe and comfortable and give them the strength to get past this time. So, try to calm and motivate your child as much as possible by giving them the required time.

Eating and Sleeping Habits Get Changed

A parent’s divorce is enough to change a child’s overall diet and sleeping habits completely.

A study shows that a parent’s divorce can affect a child’s weight. The result shows that the BMI of the child who doesn’t experience divorce is higher than who faces it.

They are mostly found to be in the children who experience their parent’s separation before the age of 6. Moreover, most children may have constant nightmares after their parent’s divorce or start believing in superstitions like monsters.

As a result, they may have a hard time falling asleep. These are linked to overthinking and stress the brain can no longer take.

Increase in Health Problems

Children may experience stress as a result of the divorce process. Having to deal with these challenges might have a negative impact, including health issues. Children who have experienced divorce have an increased susceptibility to illness, which can be caused by a variety of circumstances, such as difficulties sleeping. Additionally, depressive symptoms may manifest, aggravating the symptoms of declining health and feelings of loss of wellbeing.

Picking Sides

A study found that children tend to experience cognitive dissonance and allegiance conflict whenever a conflict happens between their parents. As a result, they find it quite uncomfortable to be in the middle, having to choose and support one parent over the other, especially when you love them equally.

This forceful demand for fairness and picking up one parent’s side harms their development. With time, a child will grow up without developing a sense of justice and partiality.

When a child cannot express their saying, they ultimately start showing various kinds of bodily discomforts—for instance, headaches.

This loyalty conflict may get so severe that, with time, the child doesn’t remain in contact with the other parent (even though the chosen one may change with time). It is a pathetic scenario and one of the severe effects a child might have to endure for the rest of their lives.

Go Through Depression

According to research, it is found that children experiencing their parent’s divorce are at a higher risk of developing severe depression.

What’s more concerning and heartbreaking is that some children even try suicide after being unable to accept and cope with all the changes.

While these problems can affect children of any age, children aged 11 years and above are more prominent. Also, study shows that boys are found to be more susceptible to having suicidal thoughts than girls.

Getting the assistance of a qualified mental health practitioner is of utmost importance if you start noticing your child showing any sign of suffering from depression.

Having Issues in Future Relationships

Research confirms that when parents divorce, there exists a strong possibility that their children may eventually find themselves in the same situation as adults.

The theory is that a child’s relationship perspective may change due to their parent’s divorce. As a result, they can be less eager to enter into committed and long-term relationships.

What Age is The Hardest on a Child During Divorce?

A child’s age can have a big impact on how they may feel about and handle their parents’ divorce. Children of varying ages may have particular requirements and respond to the circumstance in various ways. Children under the age of six may find it difficult to understand the notion of divorce and may even blame themselves for their parents’ divorce. Additionally, they could feel a feeling of loss and go through emotional or behavioral changes.

Children in school-age (ages 6 to 12) may also struggle to comprehend the idea of divorce and may worry about their own well-being as well as the well-being of their parents. Additionally, they could have a sense of loss, and they might act out or withdraw in order to cope. Teenagers (ages 12 to 18) might understand divorce more maturely and be better able to communicate their feelings about it. However, they could still struggle to adjust to their new family structure and may struggle more with the interruptions and changes that divorce can cause. Every child is different and may experience divorce in a different way, it’s vital to remember that. Children should be given the assistance and direction they require in order to deal with their emotions and adapt to the changes divorce has brought about.

9 Tips on How to Help a Child Cope with Parents Separation

Peaceful Co-Parenting

Children’s distress has been found to increase when parents are in bitter disagreement. Children who display overt antagonism, such as by screaming and threatening one another, are more likely to behave poorly. However, even a little tension might make a child more upset. If you have trouble co-parenting with your ex, get expert assistance.

Don’t Put the Children in the Middle

It is not appropriate to ask children to rank their favorite parent or to give them advice for other parents. Children who are caught in the middle are more prone to suffer from worry and sadness.

Keep Up Good Relationships

Children may adjust to divorce better if their parents have open lines of communication, are warm toward them, and have less disagreement. Children that have a positive parent-child relationship after a divorce tend to have higher self-esteem and perform better academically.

Use Discipline Consistently

Establish appropriate guidelines according to age and enforce them where it is required. According to a 2011 study, successful parenting after divorce decreased delinquency and increased academic achievement.

Keep an Eye on Kids

Teenagers are less likely to experience behavioral issues after a divorce when parents pay close attention to what they do and who they hang out with. This implies a lower likelihood of substance use and fewer academic issues.

Encourage Your Kids

Children who feel like they can’t handle the changes or who regard themselves as helpless victims are more likely to have mental health issues. Instruct your child that, despite the difficulty of going through a divorce, he has the self belief to do so.

Teach Coping Techniques

Children who have active coping skills, such as problem-solving abilities and cognitive restructuring abilities, adjust to divorce better. Teach your child healthy ways to regulate his thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Make Children Feel Safe

A lot of stress can be brought on by worries about the future and the fear of abandonment. But in addition to reducing clinginess, making your child feel loved, secure, and protected can also lower their risk of developing mental health issues.

Get Expert Assistance

Your child may benefit greatly if you manage your stress. To assist you in adjusting to the changes in your family, engage in self-care activities and think about talking therapies or other options.


  • Talk and spend as much time as possible with your child. As a result, they will become open and start expressing their emotions more by pouring their heart out.
  • Try to make them feel loved, safe and comfortable
  • Help build their self-confidence
  • Pay close attention to your child and take action accordingly.
  • Don’t fight with your former partner in front of your child.
  • Contact the pediatrician or a mental health professional immediately if you observe any warning signs.
  • Show and talk about your own emotions with your child. It will help them open up about their own emotions and issues.

To Conclude

That’s all from the negatives effects of divorce on children.

Divorce is never a good thing. But divorce is the ultimate option if marriage only brings you pain and suffering instead of happiness. In such a situation, the children see the positive sides more instead of the negative ones.

After all, every child dreams of living in a happy environment, not a conflicted one. Ultimately, it’s all about doing what’s best for the family, no matter what.

So, do your best to reassure your child that you are still a family, even though certain things may get changed. More than anything else, your child wants your unconditional love and support, despite the relationship status you are currently sharing.

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