How does divorce affect children?

Parents in separation ask themselves &ldquot;How does divorce affect children?&rdquot; Most of the time they are very concerned about their well being.

Important factors

Parents wonder whether their decision will affect the happiness or even health of their children. Reliable information about the effects on children is still being assembled by sociologists and psychologists, but a number of important factors can already be mentioned.

The age of the child

One of the most important factor is the age of the child at the time of the divorce. The effects of divorce on children are many. How does divorce affect children at different ages?

  • Children until 3: not much is know about the effects on them.
  • Children between 3 and 6 years: they do not understand what is happening. They are afraid that the parent that takes care of them will also leave them. Their self esteem is often lowered. They sometimes think they caused the separation. They underperform at school and they tend not to sleep well.
  • Children between 6 to 9 years: they tend to deny the divorce. They expect the parents will reunite.
  • Children between 9 and 12 years: they feel even worse than their younger brothers and sisters. They realise that the family has split up and they suffer from that. They understand that families are very much valued in our society. Often, they prefer one parent above the other in this phase.
  • Children between 12 and 16: although they are older and can take care of themselves more and more, they suffer the most. They suffer from their fighting parents between. Many children at this age project the unhappy situation between their parents on their own future. That make them feel uncomfortable and often depressed. However, with the years they learn to view their parents more from a little distance and they start to get along well with both of their parents. The black and white judgement disappears. They learn to take care of their own needs and wants.

The gender of the child

How does divorce affect the different genders? Furthermore, the child's gender and personality play are important factors. Especially girls tend to have difficulties accepting a new partner for their mother.

The size of the conflict

We should consider the amount of conflict between parents during and after the divorce.

Support from friends and families

The support provided by friends and family during the whole period.


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