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The Impact of Divorce on Children Research Paper


The given paper revolves around the main aspects of divorce and the negative impact it has on the personality of a child. The work provides background information related to the given issue for a reader to obtain a clear image of the problem. The paper also provides the literature review of the sources related to the major concerns of the issue of divorce and the aftermath it might have on the development of a child, socialization, and his/her behavior. The psyche of a child is considered as one of the crucial aspects of the given issue, and the precise analysis of the divorces influence is provided. The given work also presents a reader with the aftermath of divorce and the terms of the child adjustment. At the end of the paper, the discussion is provided, and the main information is summarized.


Family plays a crucial role in the evolution and survival of society. A number of scientists have sought to describe the impact it has on the development of an individual and the processes peculiar to the institution of the family at various stages of the growth of society. However, the majority of them accept the idea of the dominant role of the family in the process of the formation of the psyche of a child and his/her socialization (Entwistle, 2010).

Being deprived of the family environment, a child might suffer from the lack of various essential factors and parental attention. However, along with the recognition of the role of family, modern society is also characterized by the tendency towards the growth of the divorce rate. The scientists emphasize the pernicious impact it has on society because of the corruption of the psyche of a child who grows in terms of the divorce.

Literature review

The scale of the existing challenge is significant and can be realized when one analyzes the literature devoted to the given issue. Kelly (2003) tends to underline the fact that if the given tendency holds, society will face the complicated problems related to the socialization of children and their behavior. Underlining the point that there have been a number of substantial changes in the last several decades in scientific perspectives related to the issue of divorce, the author emphasizes the necessity of the continuation of researches devoted to the given sphere (Kelly, 2003). According to modern statistics, divorce is one of the most frequently mentioned reasons for the failure of childrens socialization and adaptation (Effects of Divorce on Children, n.d.).

These facts evidence the scale of the problem and highlight the most complicated aspect of the divorce. Children become the main victims of this process as their unformed psyche and personality remain extremely vulnerable (Long-term Effects of Divorce, n.d.). Under these conditions, the necessity of the investigation of divorce and the mechanisms of its influence on a child becomes one of the essential tasks of psychologists. The stable interest towards the issue of divorce also gives rise to the reconsideration of the traditional approaches towards the mitigation of its effects and the creation of the atmosphere beneficial for the childs development.

Foulkes-Jamison (2001) stresses the idea that the modern age demands a new and efficient solution to protect a child and guarantee his/her stable evolution. For these reasons, investigators traditionally highlight a number of major concerns related to divorce and its impact on a child. These concerns include the process of adjustment, socialization and the psyche of a child (Emery, n.d.). However, the aspects to consider might vary depending on the stressors which have the greatest impact on a certain child.

The main aspects of divorce

Divorce implies the introduction of a number of essential changes to the structure of a family and relations between parents and a child. This is not about the change in the legal status of people used to live in terms of marriage. However, the initiation of the divorce process signals about the corruption of the psychic atmosphere peculiar to a certain family (Karuppaswamy & Myers, n.d.). Statistics show that the majority of divorces are preceded by the crucial shifts in the relations between partners and their interaction in terms of the household (Long-term Effects of Divorce, n.d). These changes have a hidden impact on a child and initiate the process of the reconsideration of his/her traditional approaches and vision of the relations within the traditional family. Children take parents as their role models and the collapse of their relations results in the acquisition of cognitive dissonance.

Childrens psyche

It appears because of the unsteadiness and unformed character of the psyche of a child. Scientists state the formation of the personality of a person ends by 18 years (Pickhardt, 2011). Until then, it remains unstable and subject to the influence of a number of external factors. For this reason, divorce might become great stress for a child and result in significant shifts in the psychological profile.

The cognitive abilities of children are limited (Foulkes-Jamison, 2001), and very often it results in the appearance of false ideas and irrational fears about the future. Additionally, the lack of coping skills might place a child at risk of having significant problems related to the reconsideration of a family and his/her role in it (Foulkes-Jamison, 2001). The complex of these factors poses a great threat to the psyche of a child and the process of socialization.

Divorce and the family structure

There are multiple stressors which a child faces in case of divorce. The first one is the change of the accustomed structure of a family and the search for the place in the new environment. Children suffer from a lack of communication with one of the parents, often their father (Kalmijn, 2015). Additionally, the third part of divorces results in the removal. (Effects of Divorce on Children, n.d.) and worsening of living conditions. All these factors pose a great threat to the conscience and psyche of a child. Combined with the collapse of the institution of family, they might trigger the irreversible changes in the behavior and mentality. The family serves as the basis for children (McMinn, 2011) and provides the element of stability in the changing world. Being deprived of it, they will become more dependent on one of the parents as he/she will remain the only stable element.

Negative feelings

Therefore, the majority of children participating in the surveys devoted to the investigation of the given issue, highlight “painful memories and ongoing worries” (Emery, n.d.) related to their parents divorce and their relations at that period of time. These negative feelings promote the appearance of a number of psychological disorders based on a persons self-determination. The scale of the impact is proved by the words of adolescents whose parents are divorced.

They completely accept its pernicious influence and underline the fact that their personality is altered under the influence of divorce (Emery, n.d.). The conflict between the parents may also result in the acquisition of the mistrust towards the representatives of the opposite sex as a child is deprived of the example of the successful collaboration of genders. Furthermore, the same reports evidence that people whose parents are divorced tend to describe their childhood as more difficult than the rest of their counterparts had.

Behavioral deviations

Behavior deviations might also appear due to the negative experience and feelings related to the divorce process. Kapinus (2004) underlines the pernicious influence of the feelings and emotions triggered by the process of the formation of the childs behavior. It impacts boys and girls in different ways and leads to the formation of complicated physiological deviations. For instance, a number of girls whose parents are divorced fail to create a good family and establish stable and beneficial relations with men (Kapinus, 2004).

The number is especially big among girls who remained with their mothers. In such a case under the influence of a mother, the fathers guilt is taken as the main factor resulting in the initiation of the divorce. The environment of this sort promotes the development of the negative inclinations towards the relationships with the opposite sex and the formation of their image. The girls fail to trust men and have a fear towards the rapprochement. As concerns boys, the pattern of the influence is different. Being deprived of the paternal influence, they might display the lack of masculinity and feminine qualities (Kalmijn, 2015). In these regards, the process of divorce impacts both boys and girls, resulting in the significant changes of the traditional behavioral patterns.

Siblings in terms of divorce

For siblings, the effect is more complicated. Research related to the given issue states that “siblings experienced increased closeness as a result of the shared experience of going through the divorce of their parents together” (Abbey & Dallos, 2004, p. 241). The common negative emotions strengthen the bond between children and make them more open to each other. Additionally, the presence of a person who might feel the same feelings and share the pain of the process makes the experience less stressful. Studies show that siblings are more resilient, and it is easier for them to involve in the social life (Abbey and Dallos, 2004).

However, there are also significant concerns related to the negative aspect of the relations between siblings in terms of divorce. Abbey and Dallos (2004) underline the fact that the siblings going through the divorce process might be jealous and take a brother or a sister as the potential rival in the struggle for the parents attention. The whole process is characterized by the decrease of the level of attention devoted to children. It gives rise to the attempts to underline their significance for parents. Furthermore, the separation of siblings might contribute to the significant deteriorations of the relations between them triggered by various points of view on the divorce process. The conflict of interests between parents will obviously have the impact on the childrens vision of the situation and initiate the growth of the mistrust between them.

The impact of divorce on socialization

The process of the socialization of a child might also be impacted by divorce. Childhood is an essential period in the life of every person characterized by the formation of the most important mechanisms of the interaction with the society. At that period of time, children have to acquire the skills needed or the collaboration with their counterparts and adults. However, the deterioration of the relations between parents and their inability to make a compromise influence the formation of the diffidence. The psyche of a child suffers from the feelings of pain, loneliness, guilt, and a number of other significant stressors.

For these reasons, a child might become reserved and refuse to cooperate with people surrounding him/her. Additionally, because of the lack of experience and sense of delicacy, children do not sympathize with their counterparts who go through divorce. On the contrary, very often they are derided and humiliated. That is why, a child might acquire the problems with “anger, disobedience, and rule violations” (Emery, n.d., para. 4), having the significant negative impact on the socialization. Statistics show that a significant percentage among people characterized by the problems with socialization have the negative and painful experience of their parents divorce.


It follows from these cogitations that divorce has the undeniable negative impact on the evolution and formation of a child. The deterioration of the quality of his/her life and decrease of the level of social activity are the important outcomes of this process. They pose a great threat to the further development of society. For these reasons, the mitigation of the aftermath of divorce and promoting the recovery of children become the major concerns of the modern age.

According to Kelly (2003), childrens adjustment is the crucial aspect of any divorce process as it leads to the neutralization of the negative impacts and promotion of the childrens recovery. Traditionally, the adjustment takes 2 years (Effects of Divorce on Children, n.d.). However, scientists underline the possibility to reduce the terms and make the process more efficient by the implementation of the new methods of working with these children. (Kelly, 2003).

To make the impact of divorce less negative and mitigate the development of numerous psychological disorders, parents are obliged to devote a great deal of attention towards their children as their communication skills promote the better understanding of the process and faster recovery. In general, the role of parents in the process of divorce is crucial, and they have to address the psychologist to guarantee the further stable and beneficial development of their child. Te protective factors related to the issue also contribute to the faster recovery of a child. These factors include the positive atmosphere within a family, support from the relatives, psychological consultations, etc.


In conclusion, the negative impact of divorce on children is proved by numerous investigations. The change of the structure of the family results in the appearance of the uncertainty and destroys the traditional image of the world. Children suffer from the lack of attention devoted to them and the conflict between their parents. Their unformed and unstable psyche responds to the shifts in the environment by creating various defense mechanisms like aggression, disobedience and violations of different kinds. Additionally, the problems with the relations with counterparts result in the failure of socialization. For this reason, a number of people passed through their parents divorce fail to create the stable relations or the family. The scale of the problem is significant and impacts the level of attention devoted to the adjustment. It is taken as one of the crucial concerns which could help to protect a child and help him/her to recover.


Abbey, C., & Dallos, R. (2004). The Experience of the Impact of Divorce on Sibling Relationships: A Qualitative Study. Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry, 9(2), 241-259. Web.

Effects of Divorce on Children. (n.d.). Web.

Emery, R. (n.d.). The truth about children and divorce. Web.

Entwistle, D. (2010). Integrative approaches to psychology and Christianity. Eugene, OR.: Cascade Books.

Foulkes-Jamison, L. (2001). The Effects Of Divorce On Children. Web.

Kalmijn, M. (2015). Relationships Between Fathers and Adult Children. The Cumulative Effects of Divorce and Repartnering. Journal of Family Issues, 36(6), 737-759. Web.

Kapinus, C. (2004). The Effect of Parents’ Attitudes toward Divorce on Offspring’s Attitudes. Gender and Parental Divorce as Mediating Factors. Journal of Family Issues, 25(1), 112-135. Web.

Karuppaswamy, N., & Myers, J. (n.d.) The Effect of Divorce on Children: What Makes a Difference. Web.

Kelly, J. (2003). Changing Perspectives on Children’s Adjustment Following Divorce. A View from the United States. Childhood, 10(2), 237-254. Web.

Long-term Effects of Divorce. (n.d.). Web.

McMinn, M. R. (2011). Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

Pickhardt, C. (2011). Psychology Today. Web.

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