How Does Divorce Affects Children


I thought I knew the extent to which these children I cared about so much were suffering. In fact, initially I was of the impression that if only I could provide them will all their basic needs(food, clothing, etc), very soon they would not only forget about their biological father, but also returned to be the children they once were, prior to their parents getting divorced. However, it turned out that I was wrong!

When it comes to the subject of children and divorce, do we really know the extent to which children of divorce are affected? Based on findings, approximately 50% of all marriages now end in divorce, which means that an average of one million children experience the breakup of their families, annually. It is believed that only 40% of the children born today will actually reach the age of 18 in an intact, two-parent home, due to divorce. The changing custody rules complicates matter even further. This means the majority of the children of divorced parents will be allowed to have only occasional contact with their fathers or no contact whatsoever.

Psychological Consequences of Divorce

Children are usually affected by the breakup of the family in multiple ways. We are already aware of the fact, that both parents usually have very strong influences on the development of their children; yet with a divorce that equal availability of both parents will no longer exist.

Children are also part of a family that has been under tension for quite a long time. After hearing the word divorce spoken out aloud or even shouted out in their homes time and time again for months or even years, they have come to the realization that the relationship has been disrupted and they may start to think about their fate. They have already seen one parent walked out on them and may fear that the other parent will do the same.

They may feel unhappy, confused, angry, anxious; they may even become depressed or disruptive, or they may perform poorly in school. Many children in particular the younger ones, feel that they are to be held responsible for the divorce. They feel that if they had been better children, maybe their parents would still be together.They may attempt to reunite their parents, perhaps by being very good or by fantasizing about reconciliation.

Relationships with both parents usually alter during and after a divorce. Children may become disobedient and argumentative; in adolescence, they may emotionally disengage themselves from their families.

Most of the times, children are forced to listen each parent continuously pointing out the faults of each other. They may find themselves in the middle of a custody battle, and may be forced to choose sides. Parents may compete for their children's affection and may attempt to bribe them with gifts or privileges.

Immediately after the divorce, parents are often placed under an enormous amount of stress, and may be incapable of providing warmth or control; they may be less affectionate, inconsistent with discipline, uncommunicative, or even non-supportive. Also, children may become upset when their parents start dating or establishing relationships with others.

A boy who is living with his mother for example, may assume the role of "man of the house", and may feel threatened when a man he considers a "rival" appears on the scene. The way children respond to divorce is influenced by a number of factors. Perhaps the three most important factors are the following:

1.The amount of hostility accompanying the divorce:- It's believed that in general, it's harder for children to adjust to the situation, if there is a great deal of hostility and bitterness before or after a divorce.

Parental conflict is often considered the main reason for children's lowered sense of well-being. When parents fight, children develop fears and anger. They are especially vulnerable when they have to choose between one parent and the other. Relentless legal battles(over custody, for example), or disagreements over the division of property, child support, visitation, or child care, make the situation much more difficult for everyone involved.

2. The amount of actual changes in the child's life :- According to one social science expert, a child is less likely to have adjustment problems after the divorce of his/her parents, if he/she continues to live in the same home, attends the same school, and has the same friends.

Contrarily, it will be much difficult for a child to adjust, if the child's daily life is disrupted in major ways such as moving back and forth from one parent's household to the other's, losing old friends, entering a new school, and so on. It's believed that the child self-confidence and sense of order in the world are more likely to be affected, the more adjustments that child is forced to make, especially during the period immediately after the divorce.

3. The nature of the parent-child relationship:- Other human behavior specialists argue that the child will be able to make a successful adjustment, if there is long-term involvement and emotional support coming from both parents. They further argue that whether or not both parents are present in the home, the nature of the continuous parent-child interaction is in fact much more important.


To summarize when it comes to the subject of children and divorce, after a divorce, divorced children often walk around with a tremendous amount of anger, bitterness, hostility, fears, and other negative emotions stored up deep within. It's not just the parents who suffer, children do suffer psychologically. In fact, they are left with their share of emotional scars.

(C) I.M..20012..x.x.x

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Comments 20 comments

remaniki profile image

remaniki 4 years ago from Chennai, India

I found this hub very informative. It hurts to feel the sad plight of the children of divorced parents. Good hub. Sharing it with the hub community. Cheers, Rema.

midget38 profile image

midget38 4 years ago from Singapore

The ones hurt the most are the kids, actually. Thanks for bringing their plight to light.I tweet and share on HP.

mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia Author

Hi Rema, thanks for your comment. I just want you to know that as soon as I glance at the word "hurt" it gives me a kind of unpleasant gut feeling! It's really a sad situation!

It honestly bothers me a lot to see children of divorced parents ended up having to carry this heavy burden around for years. Not only can this interfere with their childhood's life -- it can also cause a bit of anger and trust issue in their adult's love relationship. Thanks for sharing, I certainly appreciate.

mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia Author

Hi midget38, I am sincerely grateful for your interest in this subject matter! I know for sure that you too, despise this awful plight that children of divorced parents have to endure. I agree with you, that they are the ones that are hurt the most. Being so young sometimes, they hardly even know how to deal with the psychological pain. As a result, they ended up lashing out at everyone -- literally at the world! We need to be patient with them, and continue to be supportive of them as much as we can. Thanks a lot for sharing this hub, I do appreciate it.

remaniki profile image

remaniki 4 years ago from Chennai, India

Hi mackyi,

I just shared this hub on

Cheers, Rema.

mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia Author

Thanks again Rema. You can bet I will be stopping by again. I will be checking out hubs more frequently!

CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

This is very useful and educational for those going through the process (and even not). It's very interesting to note that more often than not children suffer more than the parents. I sincerely hope that couples learn to patch up their differences or settle amicably before any emotional damage is done to everyone. It's hard but certainly doable from a selfless not selfish individual depending of course on a given circumstances.

Thank you for this enlightening read. I definitely have to share this on Facebook and will give your link to a family friend who's actually in a messy family situation at present. God bless the children.

Voted up, useful and interesting.

nanderson500 profile image

nanderson500 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

Very nice hub about this topic. I didn't experience this myself, but know people who did. Definitely a tough situation.

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

Very touchy and difficult topic. And children who depend on parents for their well being have to hear some pretty ugly things. We had a very amicable divorce--as they go. We stayed in touch for the kids sake. We actually have lunch or dinner one night a month. There were no money issues...not until many years later. However at its best which we had it is still difficult for kids to have their home--as they knew it--totally broken up. Great Hub..Up and share.

mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia Author

Hi CrisSp, thanks for stopping by and also for sharing this article. I take this matter very personal! In fact, I have seen this situation occurring in my own family circle on more than one occasion, and believe me, I prayed night and day that the parents would at least try to reconcile their differences for the sake of the children, but it didn't happen! Instead, selfishness took precedence over the happiness of the innocent children. We just have to continue praying for both the parents and the children of such unfortunate circumstance. God is able!

mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia Author

nanderson500, I agree with you, it's indeed a very touch situation! Sometimes parents need to make some difficult sacrifices just for the sake of the children. Why can't parents try to be like the bee -- giving up its sting then die afterward, just for the sake of protecting the hive!

mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia Author

Carol7777, thanks for stopping by again, I must applaud you both on the way you initially choose to deal with whatever differences you guys had for the sake of your children. I can imagine that it wasn't that easy, but because you love your children you were willing to make the sacrifices for the sake of their happiness! No matter what, in the end, it seems as if separation or divorce always tend to affect the children more than the parents.

pamelalord 4 years ago

Mackyi, thanks for sharing this hub. My husband and I divorced in 2010 after 20 years of marriage. We remarried this past May, but are still dealing with the repercussions and the effects on our children, especially our youngest.

Having three boys 13, 15, 18 at the time of the divorce, I felt it was best for them to remain with their dad in our home. As you mentioned, the least amount of change would be best. It was a good thing, however, my husband was devastated and retreated within himself, causing my youngest to feel alone. If I could go back and change things, I would. We never fought in front of the kids. Divorce wasn't mentioned, and that, I feel, was almost worse than hearing it spoken. It pulled the rug out from under them.

We are rebuilding our family one day at a time. Divorce, regardless of how amicably is horrible and so devastating to our kids. Thank you again for insight, I wish I had read this before making this decision.

I look forward to reading more of your hubs.


pamelalord profile image

pamelalord 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

I wasn't signed in...still new to hub pages...I do plan on sharing some of what I learned in handling my divorce. I believe it's because we still cared for each other and our kids, and chose to not be vindictive, that we were able to reconcile. Thanks again for your article. It was great!


mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia Author

Hi Pam, l would like to first welcome you to Hubpages and also thank you for stopping by. Secondly, I have read your comments and was very moved by the fact that you and your husband were both willing to but your differences aside for the sake of the innocent children --- I often like to refer to as "The innocent bystanders." I agree with you, the consequences of divorce are harsh, especially when rids are involved. I think you have made the right decision to reunite. We all make mistakes in life, but we also learn from them! I hope one day you guys will be able to get pass the issues that had led to the divorce. It will take time and some work. But with perseverance and the help of God, it can be done.

I do encourage you to share your experiences with the Hubpages' community and other readers as well. I am sure a lot of people will benefit from what you have to share. Look forward to reading your stories. God bless.

mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia Author

Thanks for reading Pam!

pamelalord profile image

pamelalord 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

Mackyi, thank you for your response and your encouragemnet. Even as of today we are reaping consequences from our choices with our son. My hope is that God is in control and will work this out for good. I hope to share something to encourage others at some point...after we've reached the other side. =) I look forward to reading more of your hubs. Pam

mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia Author

Thanks Pam, it's always a pleasure. I certainly look forward to reading what you have to share in the future. Take it slowly, one day at a time!

When two people are united by marriage, they become "one", as a result if they are not pulling together the marriage is bound to crumble. It's a fact that women fail when there is no strength in their men and vice-verse!

No one is perfect, so we should all be willing to forgive and compromised for the sake of rebuilding our family and moving forward. Neither of you should keep looking back in the past --- It's gone, so try to forget about it!! This is one of the most effective way of successfully transitioning into the future.

Keep that positive attitude "God is in control." If you both want to, you will both make it to the other side -- not the time you think or hope it should happen, but at the time chosen by God! Be patient, God is good!

Ebonny profile image

Ebonny 4 years ago from UK

Good insight into an important topic. Thumbs up and more.

mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia Author

Thanks for stopping by and especially for leaving a comment Ebony, I do appreciate. God bless.

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