The Effects of Divorce on Children’s Behaviour

The Effects of Divorce on Children’s Behaviour

Navigating through a divorce or separation with your partner is nothing short of anxiety-inducing. It is often a process of untangling two economically and emotionally connected lives. Yet, the complexity of this process is confounded when children are involved.

It’s no secret that a divorce or separation can have profound effects on a child’s behaviour. No matter how the divorce or separation is handled, it’s impossible to predict how your child will react, or change, as a result of the decision.

Thankfully, this situation doesn’t have to be without its level of control. Research has shown that understanding how your child’s behaviour may change beforehand can significantly help you mitigate behavioural problems that arise.

Join us today as we outline and explore the most common behavioural changes a child can present as a result of divorce or separation.

Take In the Bigger Picture – First-Year Problems

Working through a divorce or separation can often put us in a hyperactive mindset. We become extremely problem-focused, to rebuild the foundation beneath our lives. Whilst we all experience this differently, it is extremely common for this attitude to cross over to problems our child may be facing.

This is a mistake in the first year of a divorce or separation.

Children of all ages, even into their teenage years, will have difficulty adapting to such a large change in their sociological structure. Your child may be experiencing extreme stress, depression, or anxiety for the first time in their life.

Because of this, changes in their behaviour during this period will be erratic. You will likely see your child act in ways you’ve never witnessed before.

We are absolutely not saying you need to distance yourself from your child going through this. Provide them with the same love and support you always would.

Simply acknowledge that this time will be difficult for everyone, and isn’t a reflection of any long-term effects.

Let’s instead delve into the more common long-term behavioural changes that children experiencing their parent’s divorce or separation often exhibit.

The Most Common Effects of Divorce or Separation on Children’s Behaviour

There are many long-term effects a divorce or separation can have on your child’s behaviour in the long-term. Here is a selection of the most common behavioural changes that can manifest:

Anger and Irritability

Divorce and separation will be overwhelming to most children, especially when they are younger. This can cause, in the long-term, a tendency to express themselves with anger or general irritability.

This will likely not be due to an overwhelming external cause, but instead over small hiccups in daily life. You may notice your child is more prone to arguing with you, shouting, or generally being upset over small inconveniences.

Studies into adolescent behaviour of divorced parents show that, later in life, anger issues can often become engrained.  

Emotionally Sensitive

A somewhat subtle behavioural change is emotional sensitivity for children with divorced or separated parents. Children, in general, are emotionally sensitive to begin with, so it’s no surprise that this can often fly under the radar.

If you notice your child having a more muted, or explosive emotional response than normal, this is likely a sign they are emotionally sensitive.

Research into this behaviour reveals it is most commonly derived from anxiety. Children, especially teenagers, often are not well-equipped to deal with anxiety. This causes internal emotional turmoil, most often expressed externally as emotional sensitivity.

Prone to Sickness

Whilst it may be surprising to hear, studies have shown that children of divorce or separation have a higher perceptibility to general illness. There is a wide range of medical factors at play here, but the most likely culprits are stress, depression, anxiety, and difficulty with sleep.


Jumping off from our last point, we should talk about insomnia. Academic studies into insomnia have noted that adults with divorced parents have a higher likelihood to develop the condition later in life.

The majority (<70%) of adult insomnia patients expressed that they had difficulty sleeping when they were younger. Especially through the years following their parent’s divorce or separation.

In Conclusion

We know that seeing these effects spelled out so plainly can feel overwhelming, even daunting, to conceptualize when it comes to understanding how your child may be affected by divorce or separation.

However, it’s vital that you know that there is no guarantee that any, or all, of these behavioural effects, will manifest in your child. Every kid is different, and with a loving and supportive household, there is no reason to think any of these effects will take root.

Yet, if they do, you have already equipped yourself with the foresight to tackle these problems when they arise. Remember, there is always support out there for you and your child, no matter the problems you face.

How to Set Up a New Home After Divorce

After divorce

Moving on after a finalized divorce is never easy, and it’s even harder when there are children involved. Splitting your family into two households and moving into a new home can be heartbreaking, even if the divorce was amicable.

However, it’s important to look on the bright side, too. Every painful separation comes with a unique chance to get a fresh start in life. The best thing you can do is make that fresh start count as you move into your new house.

Today, we’re going to discuss some ways to help you and your children get settled after a separation.

A house doesn’t become a home until you’re living in it. Your move can be a great opportunity to focus your attention on something positive and constructive.

For our top suggestions on setting up a new home after divorce, keep reading.

Set the Tone for Your Household Early

As always, it’s important to get things off to a positive start. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to set the mood for your family. If you approach moving day with a pessimistic attitude, your kids will pick up on that.

Think about how you want them to feel as they move into their new home. Then, model that emotion for them and try to create an experience that fosters optimism. Your children will thank you for it when they’re older.

Repaint the Walls in Your New House

Simply sleeping in a new place doesn’t turn a house into a home. To really feel at home somewhere, you’ve got to establish a sense of ownership. Making your mark on a new house by repainting or redecorating is one way to do that.

You may not feel in the mood to decorate or do any painting. You may not feel that the new house is really worth going to all that trouble for. But trust us when we say that it’s worth it; you and your kids will feel better afterward.

Invest in New Furniture and Decorations

As with repainting, nothing makes a place feel like home like cozy furniture and decor.

It’s important to show that you take your move into your new home seriously. This kind of proactive, intentional attitude will go a long way toward lifting your family’s spirits. Investing time and money into your comfort is one way to do that.

You might consider making a special trip to a local furniture store with your kids. Try to keep things lighthearted, even if you don’t purchase anything right away. Allow yourselves to dream about the kind of home you’ll set up together.

Let Your Children Set Up Their Rooms

A very important part of moving post-divorce is giving your kids a sense of ownership in the new home. They may feel vulnerable and out of control as a consequence of their parents’ separation. Giving them their own rooms can help.

Although they might not seem excited about it at first, children thrive best when they feel responsible for something. Whether it’s a pet fish or a small part of the house, letting your child assume ownership in a situation is healthy.

With that in mind, let your children choose their bedrooms if possible. Then encourage them to arrange and decorate their rooms. You might even take them to a furniture or craft store to buy or make decorations they can use.

Bring in Greenery and Natural Light

One of the best things you can do for your emotional well-being is to bring in some nature. Opening blinds to let light in and buying a few potted plants can really lift the mood.

Set Up a Routine for Your Family Soon

Although kids thrive with a healthy amount of control, they also need external structure. Leaving them to their own devices for too long can make them feel stressed or isolated. It’s important to plan activities and chores for the family.

A routine could be as simple as going out to eat once a week or as elaborate as a detailed schedule. Just make sure to give your kids a say in what you do together. But don’t be afraid to set some rules, too.

Avoid Allowing Clutter to Accumulate

A cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind. Post-separation, everyone is probably feeling a little prone to stress as it is. Unpacked boxes, scattered packing materials, and belongings being strewn about can make it worse.

While you don’t need to do everything at once, you should avoid leaving messes. Try to keep the clutter and chaos to a minimum as you move in.

Allow Time and Space for Everyone to Adjust

Although healthy activity is going to be quite important during this time, the key is to seek balance. Rest and time for reflection are just as important.

You and your kids are going through a lot right now. Make sure everyone has plenty of rest and time to themselves when they need it.

Let 2houses Help Keep Your Family Organized

By now, you should have a clear idea of how to get your family settled into a new home post-divorce. From investing in furniture to helping your kids be involved, these suggestions are sure to take you a long way.

However, for separated parents, moving in is just the first step. You still have a two-household family to manage, and that can be a challenge.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. 2houses offers convenient, comprehensive tools for making your new life easier, from group scheduling to shared finances.

Learn more and start your free trial today.

Sociological Effects of Divorce on Children

Divorce and children

Making the choice to divorce or separate is never easy, especially when children are involved. It can often feel impossible to gauge how this might affect your child. This can leave you feeling powerless to tackle the problems that may arise.

Thankfully, many studies have been conducted on the sociological effects of divorce on children. Understanding how different children react to and process a separation or divorce can be vital to ensuring your child grows up without any lasting effects on their development.

Today we’ll explore the known sociological effects that affect children with separated or divorced parents. as well as strive to provide helpful ways to manage, support, and understand your child in this difficult time.

Humans As Social Creatures: The Cornerstone to Adolescent Growth

Before we delve into the sociological effects of divorce on children, it’s important to lay a foundation of understanding for humans in general. It’s common for these problems to be isolated into their own little box, ignoring the broader scope of how we all operate.

Humans are social creatures, and children are significantly more reliant on the sociological structures around them than adults. We yearn for connection, protection, and understanding amongst our peers. If we begin to lose these connections, we will often reflect introspectively to find out why.

This phenomenon is responsible for a significant amount of personal growth in all adults.

Yet, what about a child?

Children will respond to a divorce or separation differently, yet they all share one key quality. They suffer a pivotal collapse of a core sociological structure in their lives. They become introspective, yet they are often too young to fully process what this means.

It’s for this reason that the following sociological effects can manifest themselves: 

Difficulty With Academic Engagement

Children who experience their parents’ divorce at a young age will often struggle with academic studies in the future, studies reflect. The core theory behind this has to do with their inability to develop healthy relationships with their peers and teachers.

On the surface, this can express itself in the form of disillusionment. Children will often express no excitement for study and a nihilistic attitude towards what it can offer them. Inside, children will feel as if they can’t connect or succeed after experiencing such a traumatic event so early in their lives.

Sudden Destructive Behaviour

Studies have shown that children who suffer through the divorce of their parents are likely to express themselves through destructive behaviour. For younger children, below the age of ten, this is often seen through trashing their room, fighting their parents physically, or committing a petty crime.

For teenagers, destructive behaviour can often be drug-related, involve violence at school, or involve petty crime as well.

Feelings of Guilt, Anxiety, Pain, and Regret

Immediately following a divorce or separation, children will be feeling a cocktail of emotions. These include acute guilt, anxiety, pain, and regret. While each child will process these differently, studies have shown that for up to a year after the divorce or separation, it can have a negative impact on their social behaviour.

There is no one true answer to how this will present itself. Every child is different. Yet, knowing your child is feeling this range of emotions should help you to approach them in a healthy manner.

The academic studies around this topic reflect one key element that’s helpful. You should not approach this problem with the belief you’ll “solve” it. Instead, simply give your child a healthy medium to express what they’re feeling.

Inferiority Complex

It is extremely common for children to develop an inferiority complex as they mature when a divorce or separation happens early in their lives. The prevailing theory behind the cause of this has to do with the above point. Feelings of guilt, primarily, cause the child to feel that they were the reason for the divorce.

While these feelings are frequently subconscious, they have no bearing on the outcome. This can express itself in their ability to make friends, their academic studies, their teenage love lives, and even how they view their own bodies.

The best approach to tackling this problem is honesty. When your child is old enough to understand, be upfront with why the divorce or separation happened.

Disillusion In Future Marriage Prospects

It is not uncommon for children with divorced parents to have a disillusioned attitude toward marriage in their adult lives. This connection makes sense because they frequently feel as if they’ve seen how marriage can fail and want to avoid heartache.

Studies have also reflected that this can also spill over into how adults with divorced parents operate in the dating world. They often don’t look for deep connections and have trouble opening up enough to make a deep and long-lasting one.

In Conclusion

While this list may make you cringe, it is critical to put all of this information into context. Understanding the issues that your child may face as a result of their parents’ divorce is half the battle. There is no guarantee that your child will suffer from any or all of these sociological issues.

Yet, if they do, you’ll have the understanding and compassion to be there for them. Helping them to understand and process a divorce or separation.