Divorce and children

Divorce is by definition an unpleasant event for children, and especially for adolescent children. It is extremely difficult for children to have to see that two people they love very much no longer love each other. Children often feel torn into two pieces and have an increased risk of various psychological disorders, including depression and parentification.

The effect of divorce on children

Experiencing a divorce is a traumatic event for every child , at any age. Adolescents in particular can have a very difficult time, because they have reached a stage of life where they want to break away from the family and become more independent . But because they are drawn into the problems of the parents, who always (indirectly) ensure that they become a problem for the entire family, this path to independence is hindered.


Some children feel extremely responsible for the situation and, as it were, take on the role of one or both parents. This mainly occurs in families where there are several younger brothers and/or sisters present. Due to parentification, the child matures faster than normal and has far too much responsibility at a young age.

Future own relationship

Various studies have shown that children who come from a broken family have an increased risk of divorce themselves later on. Boys appear to have less confidence in love and girls often choose a partner who cannot make them happy.

Alcohol abuse

Young people from divorced families appear to have drinking problems more often than young people who have not experienced a divorce. The difference between both groups of young people appears to be greatest in the period immediately after the divorce.

The importance of communication

It is very important that parents can still get along with each other when it comes to the children. The commitment as partners is relatively easy to dissolve, but you are parents of a child together for the rest of your lives. Therefore, seek external help at an early stage if things threaten to go wrong in your contact with each other.

When will you tell the children?

When do you tell your children the big bad news? It is best to do this when most things are clear to you as parents. Children want clarity . Clarity about where mom and dad will live, whether they can stay at the same school, whether they can still play football, etc. Tailor the message appropriately to the child’s age and level of understanding. You can explain more with older children than with younger children.

Child’s response

different reactions may be evoked in the child when he or she is told that the parents are divorcing. Anger, relief, self-blame, blaming parents, resistance or crawling into a shell are not strange reactions. Other children keep their emotions to themselves, they may be afraid that their parents will feel like they are taking sides , which they don’t.

The new partner

One day you might be open to a new partner and actually start a new relationship. It is wise not to move in together too quickly and to opt for a LAT relationship for the first time. For children, a new partner can be seen as a threat to themselves (less attention) and as deception towards the other parent. Let your child get used to the new situation slowly and do not rush into anything!

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