Understanding The Effects Of Divorce On Children

By Mason Komay|Updated April 15, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Karen Devlin, LPC

For an individual experiencing divorce, it can be an incredibly difficult time for them and the children as well. The effects on a child's behavior may be unpredictable, and it may affect each child differently. However, the negative effects of divorce on children can extend well beyond the initial emotional reactions of sadness, anger, and resentment. If you're going through a divorce, it's important to understand how divorce may affect your children and learn how to best support them.

How Divorce Affects Children

Thinking About The Effects Of Divorce On Children?
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Divorce may have many negative effects on children, and it can affect each child differently. These negative effects may create issues in a child's education, relationships, and emotional well-being, persisting into adulthood.

Academic Performance

Children in school, no matter their age, may see a decline in their academic performance. Their grades may slip, and they may refrain from participating in recreational or after-school sports or activities because they are distracted by their life at home.

Difficulties Adapting to Change

Children experiencing a divorce may find it difficult to adapt to the transition. During a divorce, a child may have to learn how to adapt to a new family unit, a new living situation, different schools, new friends, among other things. This may be incredibly overwhelming for a child, or they may resist these changes.

Loss of Interest

Research shows that divorce may impact children socially. They may find it more difficult relating to other children whose parents aren't divorced, and they may feel no one understands what they are going through.

Emotional Issues

When a child experiences a divorce, they may experience a wide range of intense emotions during the grieving process. Feelings of anger, confusion, guilt, sadness, or anxiety may cause your child to feel overwhelmed and potentially unsure of how to manage these emotions. Your child must have someone they trust they can talk to about what they are feeling and learn healthy ways to process and cope with these emotions. 

How to Make the Transition Easier

Children may face many difficulties when their parents get a divorce. However, there are things you can do as parents that may be able to help them cope.

  • Don't keep secrets - It's important not to keep secrets from your children and not wait until the last minute about the divorce. This may give them time to adjust to the transition slowly which may ease the negative effects.
  • Don't overshare - While it's important not to keep secrets from your children, it's also just as important to not tell them too much or give them unnecessary information. It may be harmful if you give them information that may portray one parent in a negative light.
  • Tell them it's not their fault - Children often feel guilty and may believe the divorce is their fault. You must tell your children the divorce is not because of them.
  • Admit it's difficult - It's important to admit that it may not be an easy transition. Please encourage your children that it's okay to have strong emotions and to be sad or angry.
  • Tell your children you love them - Let your children know that both you and your partner love them and will always be there to support them regardless of what happens to the family dynamic.
  • Talk to them - Your children are likely experiencing many different emotions and may have difficulty coping with them. It's important to be a source of support to your child and be a place they can go to for help.
  • Get help - If your child or children are having a challenging time accepting or coping with the divorce, it may be beneficial to seek support from a licensed professional.

Seeking Help

Thinking About The Effects Of Divorce On Children?

If you're experiencing a divorce, you may encounter a wide range of emotions feeling incredibly overwhelmed at times, and you may find difficulties adapting to the new family dynamic. It's important to know you are not alone, and there is the support that can help. A licensed therapist can help ease the traumatic effects of divorce, not only for you but for your entire family. They may be able to provide you and your partner with the tools you need to make the whole process as comforting as possible for you and your children.

While going through a divorce, it may be an incredibly difficult time for you, and it may seem overwhelming to add a therapist into the mix, especially with children. In this case, online therapy may be a great solution to seek support, and you can do it from the comfort of your own home, whenever it is convenient for you and your family. ReGain is an online therapy platform specializing in relationship issues. With one of our licensed therapists' guidance, online counseling eliminates the need for long drives and inconvenient appointment times. Instead, you have the freedom to reach out to your counselor whenever and wherever you want to, at a fraction of the cost. Below are some reviews of ReGain counselors for you to review from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"Dr. Anstadt is amazing. I appreciate him always reaching out to make sure things are going smoothly in between our sessions. He follows up and genuinely cares about my situation. I would recommend Dr. Anstadt to anyone who is seeking insight on parenting and new relationships after divorce. Thank you for everything!"

"Lisheyna is an amazing person with really beautiful insights. I struggled with my separation, and she helped me regain new insights, which helped me become friends with my ex-wife again and understand her perspective. I am grateful to Lisheyna for her support and would highly recommend her to anyone seeking any personal or relationship counseling."

Conclusion

Going through a divorce may be challenging for the entire family. However, it's possible to overcome the negative effects it may have on your children. If you're experiencing a divorce, it may be beneficial to seek support from a professional relationship therapist. They can provide you with tools and coping mechanisms to help you and your children deal with any challenges you may be facing. ReGain is an online therapy platform specializing in relationships that may be able to help. Reach out today to improve your family dynamic and make the transition of divorce easier to cope with for you and your children.

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