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How divorce can affect children psychologically

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2023 | Divorce |

A divorce is often difficult for everyone in the affected Nebraska family. However, children are often impacted the most. There are certain psychological effects they can experience during and after their parents end their marriage.

Behavioral problems

Children are more likely to develop behavioral problems when their parents get a divorce. Some can start to act out even at earlier ages and have trouble communicating with their peers. Some kids exhibit aggression and act impulsively, psychological effects that can occur no matter what their age.

Self-blame and guilt

Younger children often blame themselves for the shift in the family dynamic during a divorce. They don’t understand that what’s happening is not their fault; however, many experience guilt and may not even speak out to their parents.

Depression and anxiety

Divorce can affect children’s mental health and cause them to develop depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Although this can happen regardless of the circumstances, if parents fight often in the child’s presence, it can cause permanent issues. These problems go beyond normal stress; children can continuously relive the trauma to the point where they have trouble in school and with friends. They can also lose interest in their favorite hobbies and activities. Younger children are also at a higher risk of separation anxiety especially once a parent moves out of the family home or one parent has primary or sole custody.


Teens who have trouble adjusting to their parents’ divorce can become self-destructive. They may start taking more risks and engage in things they otherwise would not such as drinking, smoking, drug use and sexual activity. Sadly, those who can’t accept the family situation are at a higher risk of a downward spiral.

Children can cope better with divorce when they have their parents’ support. Some may need resources beyond just family.