Essay Sample on Divorce Impact: Children's Struggle to Cope

Published: 2022-12-26
Essay Sample on Divorce Impact: Children's Struggle to Cope
Type of paper:  Literature review
Categories:  Gender Parenting Childhood Depression Behavior change
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1516 words
13 min read


The impact of divorce is not only felt by the parents but also the children. Both parents struggle with how to relate with each other as well as how they will raise their children. Divorce has short term and long term effects on children. The impact of divorce on children, however, depends on whether they can take divorce as a natural thing and handle it with understanding. If this does not happen, then they will struggle with how to relate with both parents and may sometimes feel deprived of parental love especially when one of the parents does not participate in the parenting duty. If the children, therefore, do not get transitioning help there is a possibility that divorce will result in a crisis.

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Anxiety and Depression

One of the effects of divorce is that it leads to depression and anxiety among children (Frimmel, Halla, & Winter-Ebmer, 2016). This is so especially when the parents argue in front of the children or direct their anger towards them. The children also sometimes are under pressure of supporting one of the parents which sour the relationship with the other. Children also may think that they are the source of the problem due to bad behavior for example. The parent staying with the children should, therefore, be keen to notice signs of depression or anxiety. These signs include problems in sleeping, low self-esteem, drug abuse, eating disorders as well as showing no interest in social interactions. Children whose parents have divorced may feel as if they are not like their children. They may sometime get bullied in school which may make them perform poorly or even drop out of school.

The children may also withdraw from friends for fear of being seen as different (Frimmel, Halla, & Winter-Ebmer, 2016). Some other times they may face rejection from their peer who might think that they are not like them and that their discipline is compromised because both parents do not raise them. The curriculum used also contributes to anxiety and depression among children whose parents have divorced. This is because it is believed that a complete family should constitute a father, mother, and children. If either of the parents does not live with the child, he/she will feel that her family is incomplete and therefore they are disadvantaged. This subsequently leads to absenteeism in school or worse cases dropout. This has an impact on the entire academic life as it leads to poor performance.

Gender Identity Challenge

Divorce has an impact on the development of a male child if the father does not play an active role in his life (Kalter, 1987). A study carried out suggests that boys who grow without their fathers face challenges in developing a valuable and permanent state of masculinity. Clinical and research evidence suggests that the primary source of a sense of masculine identity is from the family. Boys who grow in the absence of the father are likely to develop femininity which takes a lot of time and effort to deal with. During the early stages of development, children learn through observation. This means that if their father is not actively involved in parenting, they will have to observe what the mother does. For many children, parents act as mentors and role models, so they are likely to embrace what they see them do. Children believe that what their parents do or tell them is right. In this case, if they grow without a father, it is likely that they will grow knowing that is how a family should be.

This is so also in the case where a father raises a daughter because she will observe what her father does and there is a high probability that they will not know the responsibilities (Kalter, 1987). The child is also likely to suffer because there are some of the things that they cannot share with their father but they can with their mother. Before divorcing both parents should mark arrangements on how they will actively raise the children. Alternatively, either of the parents can look for a mentor or a person who can advise the child on behalf of the absent parent.

Divorce Causes a Decrease in Faith in the Family Unit and Marriage

Children raised by both parents believe that a complete family should consist of both parents and the children (Amato, 2010). Children have a dream that when they grow up, they will have stable families. When a divorce takes place, they change the perspective and acknowledge that disagreements in marriage are real and that a family may be short of a mother, father or even a child. Children who have experienced divorce are likely to divorce in their marriage as compared to those who have been raised by both parents. Those whose parents had divorced are aware that marriage sometimes does not work so it is likely that they will prefer divorce even in situations that can be solved through earns such as mediation. If either of their parents did not perform higher duties, the child would see it as a norm.

Increased Behavior Problems

Children whose parents have divorced are likely to develop behavior problems as compared to those living with both parents (Amato, 2010). This is mostly as a result of anger and a feeling that they should fight for themselves because one of the parents does not play that role. A child who is raised by one isn't may feel that those around him/her undermine him; hence he might retaliate by fighting. This behavior is sometimes; as a result depression. A child may engage in bad behaviors to attract the attention of the parents and see if they can reconcile.

Increased Financial Problems

When parents divorce it is expected that they will both be responsible for parenting the children (Frimmel, Halla, & Winter-Ebmer, 2016). However, this is not always the case because one of the parents may fail to provide financial support to the children. This affects the children because they will not get all that they were getting when both parents contributed. The children may, therefore, lack school fees, food, and clothing. These financial constraints may force a child to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as pickpocketing to maintain the lifestyle that they had. Girls are more vulnerable and are likely to engage in sexual behaviors and also early marriages to escape from the problem. Although there are several adverse effects of divorce, there are instances where divorce has positive impacts.

A Positive Role Model

Ending an unhappy long term marriage may be a turning point to a child (Giles, n.d.). This move may make a child to have a positive perception about marriage by letting him/her know that there is a possibility of marriage not working out and if it does not then there is the divorce alternative. Bing in an abusive, disrespectful and marriage where there is no love is risky to children than being divorced. When a child is for example raised in an environment where parents abuse each other then he/she will grow up thinking that is how marriages are. This will have an impact on his relationship life because he/she will practice what he says when growing up. Through divorce, children know that sometimes marriage may fail and if it does they should not commit suicide but instead should seek divorce if the marital problems cannot be solved through other means.

Healthy Relationships With the Parents

In some instances, parents stay together because of the children who are riskier that divorce (Giles, n.d.). Children a better of coming from a broken home than being raised in an unconducive environment. It is better for children to grow up knowing that their parents separated for reasons that may or may not be known to them than be raised in a home full of hatred, disrespect or violence. If the couple divorce but decide to co-parent then the children will be satisfied and will have a healthy relationship with both of them. They will respect their decision and will live a happier life than when the parents live together, but neither of them is happy.


In conclusion, divorce has both short term and long term impact on the children. Children who are raised by one parent are likely to develop gender identity issues as compared to those raised by both parents. They are also likely to suffer from anxiety and depression as well as other mental problems. Divorce also causes poor performance in school, leads to financial constraints and contributes to unhealthy behavior. However, in some instances, divorce has positive impacts which include a positive role model and healthy relationship with both parents.


Amato, P. R. (2010). Research on divorce: Continuing trends and new developments. Journal of marriage and family, 72(3), 650-666.

Frimmel, W., Halla, M., & Winter-Ebmer, R. (2016). How does parental divorce affect children's long-term outcomes?

Giles, D. The Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children | Retrieved from

Kalter, N. (1987). Longterm effects of divorce on children: A developmental vulnerability model. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 57(4), 587-600.

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