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The Impact of Divorce on Children: How to Help Them Cope

Divorce: How it Affects Children and What You Can Do About It

Divorce can be a challenging experience, especially if you have children. Coping with the impact of divorce can be stressful and depressing for kids as they face major changes in their lives.

Studies show that children whose parents have gone through a divorce are more likely to experience academic, behavioral, and mental health problems compared to those from intact families. In this article, we’ll be discussing how divorce affects children and what you can do to help them cope.

Negative Effects of Divorce on Children

When parents get a divorce, it can be traumatic for children. Kids can feel lost, confused, hurt, and angry.

The impact of divorce on kids can manifest in many ways, including:

Coping Mechanisms

Kids cope with the stress of divorce in different ways; some retreat within themselves, while others act out. It’s essential to pay attention to their reactions and provide them with the support they need.

Differences and Unfulfilling Marriage

Children are intuitive and can sense when things aren’t right. They may be aware of their parents’ differences and can pick up on when the marriage is unfulfilling.

This can create anxiety, abandonment fears, and other challenges.

New Normal

After a divorce, kids have to adjust to a new normal, which can cause them confusion, anxiety, and frustration. They might display behavior changes like regressing, becoming clingy, rebelling, or withdrawing.

Major Stressor

Divorce is a significant stressor for kids, but it can increase their stress levels when there are other changes like a parent remarrying, moving, or additional stressors like financial difficulties.

Spike in Behavior Problems

Children of divorced families may show behavioral problems such as impulsive or rash behavior, conduct disorders and risky behavior, and insecurity.

Academic Problems

Academic problems are common for children of divorced families. They may show psychological problems like anxiety, depression rates, substance abuse, and adulthood psychiatric issues.

When parents get a divorce, it can change the children’s world, leading to a decline in academic performance and self-esteem.

What The Expert Says About Divorce and Children

Cognitive therapists and psychiatrists have studied the impact of divorce on children. They found that children experience emotions like abandonment, disillusionment, autonomy, insecurity, loneliness, guilt, resentment, and regression.

Adolescent children can face more significant challenges. Here are some common areas or problems they face:

– Blaming themselves for the divorce or siblings’ behavior

– Being stuck in the middle of their parents’ conflict

– Dealing with the shifting dynamics of their family life

– Struggling to develop bonds with a new step-parent or blended family

– Battling issues with self-esteem and self-worth

Dos and Don’ts When Divorce Involves Children

As a parent going through a divorce, your top priority is your child’s wellbeing. Studies show that divorcing parents who prioritize their children’s needs have happier and healthier children.

Here are some

Dos and Don’ts that you can follow when you’re going through a divorce:


1. Open Communication

When your family is undergoing turbulent times and changes, it’s important to keep communication channels open, allowing children to express themselves to release their fear and confusion.

2. Answer their Concerns

Answer your child’s questions with age-appropriate information.

Explain what’s happening, why it’s happening, and what to expect ahead. 3.

Keep An Eye On Their Emotional Health

Watch your children’s behavior and emotional health by taking into account possible triggers like birthday and holiday parties, other kids’ bragging about their families, their favorite sport or activity not currently available, and other particular events. Don’ts



Avoid yelling and getting angry in front of your children. Aggressive words and tones only adds to the stress and diminishes their self-worth.

2. Badmouth Ex-Spouse or Partner

Avoid speaking poorly about their ex-spouse while around the children.

It hurts their self-esteem and can be detrimental to their mental health. 3.

Isolate Them

Do not isolate your children from their friends, hobbies, or previous communities. Encourage them to maintain a sense of normalcy in their lives.


Divorce isn’t easy on children. They can experience a wide range of emotions that can be hard to deal with on their own.

As a parent, it’s essential to provide a supportive environment and open communication to help your children understand and handle the changes in their lives. Remember, good communication, patience, and positivity can help children build resilience and overcome the challenges of divorce.

By working together, you can help your children thrive, no matter how difficult the situation may be. In conclusion, divorce can have a significant impact on children.

Negative effects can include coping mechanisms, differences and unfulfilling marriages, a new normal, major stressors, spikes in behavior problems, and academic problems. Children may experience abandonment, disillusionment, autonomy, insecurity, loneliness, guilt, resentment, regression, and adolescence.

It’s essential to prioritize your children’s needs and follow the

Dos and Don’ts when going through a divorce. By providing a supportive environment, open communication, and keeping an eye on their emotional health, you can help your children develop resilience and overcome the challenges of divorce.

Remember, the way parents handle divorce greatly influences how well their children cope and adjust during and after the process.

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