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How can divorce affect children?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2023 | Divorce |

It’s becoming more common for kids in the United States to experience divorce. Approximately 50 percent of them will see their parents divorce and a quarter will witness the breakup of a parent’s second marriage, too.

Divorce is hard enough on couples. It’s even tougher for children since they cannot do anything about their circumstances. Therefore, they might suffer the following adverse effects from divorce.


Children of divorce can feel sad and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. For example, a kid who previously enjoyed playing on their soccer team frequently skips practice and sulks in their room because they’re overwhelmed by their parents’ divorce.


Divorce brings many changes to children’s families, which can upset and worry them. They may have to experience moving back and forth between homes, changing schools and unwelcome questions from acquaintances and relatives.

Poor academic performance

Some kids can be so stressed about divorce that it affects their grades. They might be kids who usually get straight A’s but have been failing their classes lately because they’re sad or angry about their parents’ divorce. They might also disengage by doodling or daydreaming during lessons.

Acting out

Many children exhibit behavior problems as a way to cope with divorce. For instance, a young child might tell their parents they hate them, or a teen might take up risky behaviors like drug/alcohol use or gang involvement. Even infants and toddlers can act out in response to their parents’ divorce. Common signs include more crying or tantrums, change in sleep patterns and biting.

Parents should do everything possible to help their children cope with divorce. Counseling, age-appropriate books and having conversations at mealtimes are good places to start. As is getting legal help to examine ways to make the divorce smoother.