Psychological Effects Of Divorce On Children | How to Help Kids Cope With Divorce

Last Update on April 15, 2022 : Published on April 15, 2022
How parental divorce affect children mental health

Divorce is a very common thing nowadays. Many couples go through a divorce but do you know who are most affected when a couple decides to split ways? Children! Yes, divorce can harm a child’s mind.

If, unfortunately, you and your partner have decided to file for divorce make sure you talk to your children about it as well. The psychological effects of divorce on children can be long-lasting.

There are multiple side effects of divorce and children of a divorced couple experience these effects the most. In any circumstance, if you have decided to split ways, make sure you keep the effects of divorce on a child’s mental health in mind and take proper measures to save your child from the consequences of divorce.

To help you do just that, here’s all the information you might need.

Psychological Effects Of Divorce On Children

Effects Of Divorce On Children

There are various effects of divorce on children. Their minds are so tender, that you never know what’s affecting them. In fact, in some cases, children start to blame themselves for their parent’s separation.

Having said that, I don’t want to put any pressure on you. Remember, if you have decided to separate, you are doing it for yourself and there’s nothing wrong with it.

Anyway, divorce still will affect your child emotionally and mentally. Here are some psychological effects of divorce on children…

1. They are filled with anger:

Anger is a strong emotion, when children fill their hearts with anger, they experience intense emotional turmoil. The anger is about their entire world falling apart and that they don’t even have a say in it. Anger also comes from the fear of abandonment and in some cases loss of control.

2. They alienate themselves:

There is so much chaos in a child’s mind when they witness a divorce that they just want to withdraw themselves from society. They become shy or quiet and anxiety has a role to play here.

3. They face an academic decline:

With a chaotic mind, it’s obvious their focus and concentration decrease which results in an academic decline. It is a lot for a child to handle parental divorce.

4. Feeling of neglect:

Since the parents are fighting their own battle, the child may not get the deserved attention and love. This instills a feeling of neglect in them. They might start to feel depressed, neglected, unwanted, unloved, etc.

5. They develop separation anxiety:

This is mostly seen in younger children. They start to cry a lot or cling to their parents a lot. They always want their parents in front of them. They fear that if they go away, they might never return.

6. They experience cognitive dissonance and loyalty conflict:

This is when the child is put in the spot, they feel very uncomfortable picking their side. The child knows that it’s time for him/her to choose one parent over the other and that creates a conflict in their mind.

7. Display risk-taking behavior:

When parents are going through a divorce some older children may choose to engage in maladaptive coping mechanisms like smoking, drinking alcohol, or consuming drugs.

8. Develop Psychological illness:

It is quite likely for children of divorcing/divorced parents to develop some kind of mental health issue. They go through a great deal of emotional and mental stress which might result in depression, anxiety, attachment issues, relationship issues, etc.

Knowing the consequence of divorce on children is very important for all parents. It will help you understand your child’s mental state better. Going through a divorce is not easy for anyone but kids need a little extra effort.

How to Help Kids Cope with Divorce

help kids cope with divorce

All parents going through a divorce want to protect their children from the negative effects of divorce on their mental health.

Now, we have listed a few things you can do as a parent, to save your child from the side effects of divorce. Here you go…

1. Talk to your children about divorce:

Children are going to have questions about your divorce, you should sit them down and have an open conversation about your divorce. Tell them about the reason for divorce and explain to them how their life is going to change.

2. Co-parent in peace:

A child needs his/her parents while growing up. Even though you have decided to part ways, you can still work in unison to raise your child. Make sure you both are present in their school activities, go for picnics together, etc.

3. Don’t make your children pick a side:

Putting your children in between the both of you is the worst thing you can do to them. Do not ever make them choose between the two of you. They are already dealing with a lot of guilt and loyalty conflict, don’t make it worse for them.

4. Have a healthy relationship with your child:

During a divorce, the child started to bottle up his/her feelings. When both of you maintain a healthy bond with your children, they can open up to you about their feelings and thoughts.

5. Keep a check on your child’s activities:

During a divorce, your children may be negatively affected and that’s why you need to monitor their activities. If they fall prey to any maladaptive behavior, you have to step in, set some rules and discipline them.

6. Empower your children:

At this point, you must talk to your children about the change and help them healthily adapt to their new life. Let them express their pain and help them move on from it.

7. Help them learn healthy coping skills:

Teaching your children to cope well with the divorce of their parents is very important. They should learn to accept reality and try to indulge in activities that help them grow from there and not regress.

8. Makes your children feel safe:

separation can be hard on children. They are overwhelmed with all the changes that are happening. At this point making them feel safe and protected is very important. They fear that if the love between their parents can, the love they share with their parents can also end.

9. Get Professional help:

in many cases, parents alone fail to help their children recover from the shock of their parents getting a divorce. You don’t need to worry because you can always get professional help for yourself and your children.

Book Your Appointment Here

Final Thoughts…

Other than the couple, divorce can harm children. No matter what age your child is, seeing their parents go through a divorce can be challenging. If this change is not dealt with properly, there are high chances of developing a mental health condition.

Make sure you talk to your children, be there for them and help them accept the reality as it is.

I hope this blog helps you understand the effects of divorce on a child’s mind. I am sure these tips to help your child cope with divorce are going to make the child comfortable and help them lead a happy life.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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