The Effect of Divorce On Child’s Development

Divorce and separation have a direct impact on a child’s development. Most couples marry with the idea of getting a happy ever after but fate has a way of playing a fast one us.

One thing couple’s who file for divorce failed to understand is, divorce doesn’t only affect the two people’s in the marriage but it also affect the children and family. It affect their behavior and their academic performance. Some end up as school drop out, being oppositional with authority figures, stealing, getting into fight and abusing alcohol. Children with divorce parent have high rate of depressed mood and low self esteem.

I recalled  growing up without mom, dad tried playing both parents using force but then a child heart will always be with the mom. Despite everything he did, there is always this vacuum inside. I recall going to the police station at the age of six (6) to testify concerning the abuse my siblings and I encounter at home, also going to court to testify at such a tender age have psychological effect on myself and my siblings.  It also affected us academically, there is this fear and insecurity I always feel around me which I cant explain.  i held on to it for a  long time. Mind you, a child has this retentive memory at that tender age little wonder we still remember certain events that happened in our lives between the age of  (4-7) four to seven.

In the western world, divorce may be in favor of the kids but in this part of the world, we always know how it ends.

Parental divorce is associated with negative outcome and early life transition as the offspring enter adulthood, they experience poverty, educational failure, early and risky sexual activities, childbirth outside wedlock, early marriage, cohabitation, marital disorder and even divorce.

Understanding the magnitude of these problems and the causal mechanism through which divorce has important social consequence. Among those broad and damaging effects, children whose parent are divorce are mostly the victims of abuse. They exhibit more health and emotional problems and are more frequently into drug abuse and also have high rate of suicide.

Growing up as a child, I envy kids with both parents, I always have this fear of the unknown inside, I hide the pain inside and it takes a lot of persuading before you can get me to speak of my inner feelings. Trust our society, nobody cares, they will make things difficult for you, besides you are not the first to come from a broken home.

It hurts to know that most parent see divorce as the next opportunity, some go into the marriage for selfish reason and after giving birth to a child or two, they file for divorce. I watched a movie where the child asked her parent seeking for divorce if they ever ask her what she wanted. According to wiki, the effect of divorce on parents and their children have been studied in detail for decades, strong evidence indicate that children whose parent get divorce experience psychological and social difficulties. It has direct impact on the children’s development. Negative effect of divorce on the children:

  • An Increase of School DropoutResearch shows that children in two parent households graduate from high school before the age of twenty (20). Can you recall I stated that divorce affects the academic performance of the child. The younger a child is during divorce, the more he/she can be affected.  They are forced to go through the divorce process, followed by a remarriage, the more difficulty they may encounter finishing school.

I recall back then while preparing for my senior school leaving certificate examination, mom remarried and my school was placed on hold and I had to start working to make ends meet. I was able to save up money four years later and went back to school, now that’s four wasted years that does not include the years of changing from one school to another by both parents. It takes determination and commitment to go through all that and emerge victorious. Few people who embarked on divorce failed to realize how much their children are likely to suffer.

Propensity For Crime: 70% of the children from a divorce home see crime as the only way for survival. Most criminals when caught put the blames on their parent. Imagine how difficult it is for a both parent to raise their kids not to talk of being raised by a single parent. Most teenagers used the separation of their parent as an excuse to cover up their wayward  lifestyles thereby constituting nuisance to the society.

  • Psychological Effects: This is one of the major problem caused by divorce. This was one major trauma I had to battle with for years. I find myself making statement like “I never asked to be born”  I can still recall the day mom came visiting and while they were disusing , dad hit her. Now, the picture of that scenario took me years to erase that memory from my mind. Children pass through a whole lots of psychological trauma but they bottle it up inside, doing more damage than good. They become withdrawn from the outside world, they had nobody to talk to and so they end up speaking to an outsider who in return end up destroying their life.
  • Greater Chance of Getting Divorce In Future: Despite aspiring to be in stable relationships, children from divorced home are more likely to get divorced as adults because most of them are more likely to marry as teenagers as well as marry someone who also come from a divorced home. Just like children who always watch their parent fight each other, they end up abusing their partner in future, using insulting words on each other using their parents as reference, the same applies to children from divorce home. Its worse when the couple went through their parents divorce phase as children, they as three times more likely to get divorce themselves.. Nicholas H. Wolfinger in 2005, in his research stated that, one of the main reason while children from unstable home are likely to get divorce is because, they are more likely to marry young.
  • Early Death: Divorce lower the standard of living for children most especially if the mother/father is not working class or has no business of their own. Research shows that children from divided family are more likely to die early than than children whose parents are not divorced, you may want to know why I said that; my reasons are, poor hygiene, poor medical attention, poor shelter etc. The causes of death are both natural and unnatural. The men are more likely to be introduced to crime and end up dead through violence, while 60% of female children are introduced early into prostitution. They end up having kids and the cycle continues.

In today’s modern world, we discovered that most people who file for divorce have no legitimate reason for doing it, its either he/she is not good in bed, not a good cook, he is poor, she is dirty, I want a male child and she is giving me female children, oh come on, “you can not put fish inside a refrigerator and expect to bring out beef” its not done. I hate it when I hear couples still divorce for this reason. We are in the 21st century and we need to wake up most especially “AFRICANS” .

Most people believes the females suffer more in divorce but I totally disagreed to that, one thing about divorce is the men also regret it most times but would never say it out because of their ego but deep down in their heart, they regret leaving their partner.

Now I’m not insinuating that if your life is at stake in your relationship you should still sit back, everyone has a limit to which they can take but one thing I would advice you do first is sit down and reflect on everything. Ask yourself questions and be sincere with your answer. Make a check list and tick the merit and demerit of that decision you want to make.

Now, before signing that divorce paper, before you think of calling it quit, remembered, you are not doing that for yourself alone, you are making decisions for other persons indirectly, will they appreciate you for that decision you took on their behave or will they despise you for it? Think about it.

WRITTEN BY: Juliana Jonathan


photo credit: stock stutter


Understanding the divorce cycle: The children of divorce in their own marriages
NH Wolfinger
Cambridge University Press, 2005



I’m Julia Jonathan, I write on relationships, communication and lifestyle advice. I believe there’s always room to improve no matter how incredible you think you are. If you think so too, follow me to see more inspirational stories and articles

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