How does conflict during separation affect children

Divorce or separation between parents is a dicey topic to discuss. Not all couples may have a fruitful marriage. They however continue remaining together because they want their children to have a safe home. In some instances, though, the situation goes out of control.

Children have to witness everyday fights and a painful separation process. On certain occasions, the child's custody goes to one parent with visiting rights to the other. The feeling of dislike divides the kids as they have to adjust to whatever parental love they are getting.

Though staying in a bad relationship is traumatic, the ensuing separation is worse. Read on to know how conflicts during divorce bother the children trapped in between.


A divorce means emotional trauma for all the parties involved. However, the kids have to suffer the most. Probably because this incident has shattered their idea of a happy family. How the child would react to this situation depends on his age and maturity level.

Young kids are the worst affected. They are unable to deal with moving from one parent to another and divided love that they receive. Many grow up with an unwanted feeling as the parents struggle to move on.

Grade children presume that maybe it is their fault. Since, at this age, kids are punished for their mistakes, they assume this is a punishment for some folly. They seem to not realize why their parents have to separate. Also, due to the tender age, they are in, the adjustment time in their case is prolonged.

Teenagers are grown up enough to handle matters. However, they also are unable to tackle divorce easily. At this juncture in life, it is quite reasonable if they resent both or one of the parents. It is also possible that the teenager might take it in good stride, depends on the situation entirely.

Increased stress

Divorce implies that the contact you have with one parent is going to reduce. In most cases, it is the father who is now a weekly presence in the child's life. The change in status means that the child's relationship with the other parent is going to suffer.

On the other hand, the mother is also going through the pain of a failed marriage. Handling everything all by herself makes her more demanding and critical with things. Single parents often become less supportive and caring. This change in behaviour usually indirectly reflects on the treatment meted to the child.

However, in some cases, the kids are not frazzled by the divorce. It is the new changes that come into their lives that are stress inducers. For example, a divorce could imply a change in schools, homes, and the burden of additional responsibilities.

Apart from that, financial woes could also make it difficult for single mothers to meet ends. With limited resources, the kids remain stressed and prone to outbursts.

Mental health woes

It is not simple for a couple to move on after a failed marriage. How can the same be possible for the children? Irrespective of their age, gender, and culture, kids who are involved in a divorce often face psychological issues.

The problems in adjusting to the new reality might get resolved in some months. Once the

child accepts the fact, these roadblocks vanish. However, there remains a possibility of anxiety and depression problems arising.

The situation is worse when the kid was equally attached to both parents. Children probably cannot accept the idea of the parents changing their paths so soon.


Behavior problems 

As the child tries to move ahead with his life, his conduct shows a downtrend. He may become impulsive, and this reflects in the manner in which he deals with outsiders. Often the school friends and classmates remain on the radar.

There are conflicts, and the single parent comes for a resolution. Any counseling about the parent's separation can, though, give the child a window to share his thoughts.

Academic performance

The child's academic performance suffers due to the strife in the family. Mental trauma of the ongoing conflicts diverts their attention. Instead of accepting reality, the children throw tantrums and take time to adjust. During this time, parental negligence affects the thinking process.

When the brain is so distracted, it is hard to concentrate on the studies. However, there is a catch here. If the divorce was a long time pending and expected the children sail through the affair. On the other hand, difficulties arise when kids are not prepared. Usually, this happens when the news is broken to them in a hurry and brashly.

Risk-taking nature 

In situations where the child is already an adolescent, the divorce impact can be hard. Such kids are highly prone to adapting to high-risk behaviors like substance abuse and sexual activity.

You find that in certain countries like the USA, such adolescents tend to start alcohol consumption early. They also report higher use of marijuana, tobacco, and drug as compared to their peers.

Where the father's attention has reduced, the kid moves on to have more sexual partners. But, if the divorce had happened when the adolescent was less than five years of age, then these changes may not be seen.

Future relationship acceptance

Eventually, everyone moves on, and so does the single parent. Children treat the entry of another partner with animosity. They refuse to accept that their mother may have a new beginning to her life.

Frequent disagreements happen, which might tilt the child's priorities elsewhere. On the flip side, this remains applicable to the father remarrying again. Eventually, it is the parent’s duty and their new partners to make the kids feel comfortable with the arrangements.


In today's society, marriages are declining at a fast pace. Though some partners continue with abusive behavior just for their kids' sake, that is damaging too. Being a parent, you must try your best to keep your kid's interests on priority. If possible, divorce should not damage the relationship you have with your partner.

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