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How divorce impacts a child’s long-term behavior

Parents considering divorce are oftentimes concerned about how divorce will affect their children. Some unhappy couples stay together long after their marriage has died for their children’s sake. However, plenty of research has been conducted to analyze divorce and its impact on children’s behavior in various environments.

Children growing up in a once held-together home often have a difficult time adjusting to a parental split, especially when there is high-amounts of stress and hostility. A child’s emotional stability is damaged when parents distant themselves from their children through reduced affection, quality-time, and over punishing reactions.

School behavior

Divorce has been shown to decrease classroom engagement and overall academic achievement. Children tend to have a negative reaction to authority figures, such as teachers and act combative around their peers. Their mind and emotions feel vulnerable and unstable with the incessant thoughts of divorce and uncertainty. Children as well as adults are continually seeking to protect themselves from any perceived source of harm or negativity.

Relationship behavior

Children of divorce may find it more difficult to resolve conflict in a healthy manner. There is a tendency for these types of children to grow up and have a negative view on marriage and not value it as others might. When anger and resentment are not carefully processed, children may grow into adults who have suppressed emotions and unhealed childhood trauma. As a result, future relationships and marriages may crumble more easily when the emotional foundation of the person remains broken.

Despite the studies that have been conducted on divorce and children’s behavior, there is always hope for a better future. Children need and crave love and attention from their primary caregivers. You can do your part of creating emotional safety and security when your child is with you. Perhaps your partner will be open to working through conflict or changing their behavior when they know how it is affecting your children. Never give up hope.

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