Effects of Divorce on Children

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Effects of Divorce on Children of different age groups

Divorce is generally a term given to a legal process that ultimately results into legal termination of marriage between both the individuals. It is considered that there are several reasons responsible to cause divorce between two spouses. It is said that when spouses find themselves unable to do any further adjustments with their respective spouse, then most of the marital relationships end up in a divorce process. The unavoidable disputes and adjustments just for the sake of saving a failing marriage cannot last for longer time. However, spouses have no idea of the major changes that appear during the post divorce phase. The severe consequences is normally seen through the impact of divorce on children in the family. The children belonging to a broken family tend to show drastic change through their behavior and attitude towards people and their own life. Therefore, here we are mainly aimed to provide you detailed information regarding severe effects of divorce on children of varied age group.

Age group 12 to 18

  • Children are gravely affected after seeing their parents fighting on marital issues. During teenage, children can easily understand the conflict and arguments of their parents. So, severe consequences are reflected in terms of emotional disturbance, which can even lead them to be a drug addict for lifetime.

  • Suicidal ideation: Teenagers usually show a tremendous change in their behavior; teenagers are known to show uncertain behavior due to hormonal imbalance, during this phase. Getting irritated frequently is one of the common signs of a disturbed state of mind. However, many children of this age group may tend to develop a feeling of committing suicide owing to the frequent fights and the mental disturbance one might experience in the family.

  • Acute depression: Depression is the most common effect identified among the children. It is mainly a result of the child's incapability to face the stressful condition like seeing both of their loving parents getting divorced in the court house and likewise.

  • Anxiety and fear regarding their future love and marital relationship in their life.

  • A focus on the moral issues pertaining to the parent's divorce thereby commenting on the actions and decisions of the parents.

  • Display of sympathy for the parents without considering their own desires and expectations is another significant characteristic that can be noticed among children of this age group.

Age group 8 to 11

  • Children of this age group normally find themselves having poor enthusiasm and less power to perform the daily chores they do in their day-to-day life.
  • Excessive anger is another behavior that they frequently show through their behavior .
  • Feeling of grief due to loss of the former intact family can easily be noticed among children very often.
  • There is possibility that children may label one parent as bad while the other as a good parent. .

Age group 6.5 to 8

  • Children of this age group usually do not understand the exact meaning of divorce and hence, they find it difficult to digest the concept that the divorce is permanent. They cannot accept the fact that their parents are separated on a permanent basis, never to be reconciled.

  • The children may make their own fantasies thinking that the divorced parents might unite again in the near future.

  • The children can not hide their emotions at this particular stage of life, hence, children can openly express their grief regarding the departed parent.

Age group 3 to 5

  • Considerable yearning for the non custodial parent
  • Aggravated fear of separation from the custodial parent
  • Sleep disturbances

Common Effects of Divorce on Children


Children of divorce have a low self esteem and are insecure. They feel that their world is based on a shifting sand. Due to such thoughts, they are very vulnerable. They have a desire to enhance their self esteem and this acts as a drive to find approval wherever it can be found. So, they may perform sexual favors for friends or abuse drugs with friends.

Self blame

The children who witness their parents divorce experience a considerable fear and immense hurt for the things occurring in their world. They fail to view the situation impartially and cannot separate themselves emotionally from the occurrences. Whenever the parents utter the child's name, the child feels that he / she is the cause for divorce. Although an equitable custody plan is ordered by the court, the child develops a feeling that one or both parents are distant for him / her. This aggravates the conclusion that they themselves are the reason for causing divorce between both the parents.


The most profound influence on a child is the behavior of the parents towards one another. When the parents are argumentative, selfish, spiteful and immature towards each other, the child develops a feeling of insecurity. When the parents get divorced, the child concludes that there is no loving, secure and stable place in the world.

Disrespect for authority

A divorce implies that the two key authority figures or say parents failed to provide a healthy upbringing to the child. So, along with a divorce, the child tends to abandon the respect for their parents and develop a kind of negative perspective towards marital and family life.

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