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THE EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON YOUNG CHILDREN

April 26, 2022

Divorce can be a difficult moment for any family, especially for children. Parents are looking for ways to be civil with each other and co-parent at the same time. Some children respond to a divorce in a natural and supportive way while others may face challenges during this change. Is divorce really bad for young children?

It is both yes and no. There are indeed negative effects of divorce on young children, but this change can be seen as a mere adjustment rather than a crisis when parents step up and do what they need to do for the sake of their children.

As mentioned earlier there are various effects of divorce on young children. They can be categorized into psychological and emotional effects.

Psychological Effects of Divorce on Young Children

  • Mental Health Problems. Children are very vulnerable to mental health issues as a result of divorce. The majority of them do not have the mental strength to deal with divorce and may develop various mental health challenges. Anxiety and depression are common in children with divorced parents. Children from divorced families have more developmental issues compared to those who are not, irrespective of age, ethnicity, or culture.

  • Behavior Problems. Externalizing issues such as behavioral disturbances, impulsive behaviors, and delinquency are likely to be seen in children with separated homes than those who still have two-parent families. Children may encounter more rivalry with peers following a divorce, in addition to increased behavior issues.

  • Poor Academic Performance. Children can become overwhelmed and frustrated as they attempt to comprehend the shifting dynamics of the family. Children may lose focus on their everyday activities—including their academics. The loss of focus can translate into lack of interest in extracurricular activities as well as poor scores on report cards.

Emotional Effects of Divorce on Young Children

  • Anger/Irritability. When children are confused and unsure how to react to the effects of divorce, they can become irritable and, in some cases, violent. Children who are going through a divorce may become angry with their parents, themselves, relatives, and others. While the anger often fades in time, it is important to be mindful of the emotions divorce may bring out in young children if it lasts.

  • Guilt. Children may ask themselves and others why their parents are divorcing. They will search for explanations, asking if it's their fault. Guilt is a common effect of divorce on young children.

While divorce may take a toll on your children, staying together just for the sake of your children might not be the best choice either. In households where there is a lot of arguing, anger, and dissatisfaction, the aforementioned different negative effects of divorce on young children may develop as well.

But there is hope. Parents can take action to help their children deal with the emotional and psychological effects of divorce. A few constructive coping practices will go a long way toward assisting children in adjusting to the transitions that divorce brings. Moreover, there are ways divorced parents can maintain a healthy relationship with their children.

And, when you are ready, contact us for more information about starting your divorce case.