Divorce and children

How divorce affects children

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

A divorce is painful, regardless of your specific circumstances. It's therefore particularly important to understand its effects on children.

If you're facing a divorce, you might be feeling all over the place right now. So, if you have kids, I want to help you as much as I can to understand how to make the process as painless as possible for them.

In making the decision to split as parents you really do need to consider how divorce can affect your children. Whilst adults may recover and move on to a new relationship, the effects of divorce on children can be more long term.
(Do also look at: Children in the Middle)

I'm hoping to help you get a better insight into what your children may feel and how they may react to your divorce (or separation if you are cohabiting).

Whatever your children's age - because even adult children are affected - the impact of a divorce can be one of the most life-changing and distressing things that will happen to a child. However, the impact does depend to some extent on how you and your partner handle it. You can minimise their distress, and I'm here to show you how.

First of all though - if you're at all unsure about ending your relationship or marriage, then please do have a look at my End Relationship Test. This can help you make the right decision - whatever that may be for you.

How divorce affects children. Sign: lost children

The effects of divorce on children

6 things to consider for your children's wellbeing

The effects of divorce on your children can vary hugely.  So, here's what I hope you'll consider:

  1. The child's age - that will to a great extent dictate what they're able to understand
  2. Their ability to cope with change in general
  3. The nature of the divorce - is it a long, acrimonious, legal battle with lots of nasty consequences for all the parties, including your children?
  4. The way in which you as parents communicate with each other
  5. The way your children normally handle any changes
  6. The extent to which each of you make it okay for your children to love and be with the other parent

There's another important list of factors on the next page of this article to help you consider divorce and its effects on children.

Making divorce more manageable for your children

Children's drawing about family breakup

It's imperative for you as a parent to consider how divorce affects your children. So, keeping your children's best interests in the forefront of you mind is likely to make the process more manageable for them. Ultimately seeing your children cope will make it that much easier for you too.

Your separation and divorce require you to constantly think: "divorce and the children". You shouldn't ever see it as just an issue for yourself.

However, you do need to take care of yourself.  When you are coping reasonably well you're more likely to have the energy to make sure that you stay aware of the impact of your divorce and its effect on your children.

I know how tough that can be though, from my personal as well as professional experience.

]So, do feel free to speak to one of my counsellors right here if you need further help and support.

What about you and your partner or husband?

If there's still a chance that you can sort out your marital problems, then I'd love you to take action right now. Don't leave it to chance - fight for it.  You may already be aware that second marriages have a 75% chance of ending in divorce. 

So, it's worth investing a lot of energy into making sure that you've done all you possibly can to make the marriage workEven if your partner is less inclined to put in the effort and you feel like you're doing all the work. Have a look at How to Save Your Marriage by Lee Baucom, PhD.

If by any chance your partner has just left you and that's why you're on this page, then you need to take action now.  And if you think there's a chance that your partner is about to leave, you need to be prepared. Hop over to another page of mine to discover What You Need to Know in Advance of Your Partner Leaving.

How will your children react?

Hop over to Part 2 for my list of 12 key factors that play a role in divorce and children's reaction to the news that their parents are separating.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Related articles

Divorce Advice for Men
How to Improve Your Self-esteem
Divorce Tips
Children in the Middle

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Images courtesy of: Alex Bruda and Stylianos Mystakidis