Impact of Divorce on Children

Originally posted July 6, 2017.



Children, regardless of their age, react to separation. Moreover, they are also influenced by the environment created by their parents during, before, and after the divorce. If the children are helped to understand what is happening, the easier it is for them to integrate their grief and fears. For this reason, they can adjust at their respective age groups. However, it is imperative children within the different age groups understand separation differently. For this reason, they react to it differently. The development of the early child’s brain can be affected by chronic neglect, trauma and stress. School-aged children, on the other hand, can face negative impacts from chronic neglect, trauma and stress partly due to sustained over-prodcution of the hormone cortisol. The negative impact of sustained cortisol exposure to the brain and nervous system can show up as a lowering of impulse control and an actual shrinking of some parts of the brain architecture, if sustained over a long period of time. Before separating the children from the parents or from the home, make yourself conversant with family law with the help of a divorce attorney.


How Separation Impacts Toddlers


Toddlers, who are aged between one to three, have different cognitive capabilities. For this reason, they are confused about separation. Moreover, they are not capable of coping with the new adjustments and alterations. As a result, they can be vulnerable to problems associated with emotions later in life. Further, young children have their worlds personalized. As a result, they think that the separation of their parents is their fault.


How School-Age Children are Impacted by Divorce


For children who are attending school, their education system can be adversely impacted by their parent’s divorce. This is the age where magical thinking takes place. For this reason, they always wish that their parents can find reasons to get back together. Children in this group are still egocentric. For this reason, they can feel responsible for their parents’ separation and reconciliation. Most of these children often grieve the loss of their parent’s marriage. For them, it is inconceivable that one of their parents is living apart and that they are no longer living together.


How School-Age Children Reaction to their Parents’ Separation


Children don’t always have the upper hand during the parent’s separation process. They are also not conversant with the family law. For this reason, such distress is received by these children. They can also display aggressive or regressive behavior during this process. The perfect environment for them to display such behavior is school. Need, aggression, withdrawal, and a dishonest behavior can be seen in the classroom setup. Not doing their work and dreaming are some of the behaviors children exhibit especially after their parents separate. Children aged between six and 12 can understand that their parents are now not together like before. It is during such times these children pick sides and criticize the other parent.


A wide range of children whose parents separate never develop major sort of emotional or behavioral problems. Most of these children are often resilient. This is most prominent when their parents manage the stress associated with separation and its impact on the children. Most of these children, in the end, function like those whose parents are still together. While this is the case, most of these children report ongoing worries and painful memories about their parents separating, their parents’ relationship with each other, and their relationship with each of their parents.


For anyone involved, parent separation is never easy. It is an emotional change for both children and parents. If you want to know more about family law, please contact a divorce attorney.


Christopher S. is an avid blogger from Tulsa, Oklahoma who is passionate about encouraging healthy family values for all communities while working with the Gorospe & Smith Tulsa Divorce Attorney Law Firm in his own community.