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Asked by Last Updated:

What can be the worst effects of divorce on children?

3 Answers

A really bad one would be the sense of abandonment, which could grow into fear and resentment of being left behind by everyone else. This can make them develop unhealthy habits that could prevent them from progressing in their social and mental capabilities. In another extreme, the child could be stuck in one early stage or grief such as anger, and resort to violence to help vent their frustrations.
I think the very worse effect is if the child feels that they are at fault for the divorce, and the parent who has left is abandoning them. It can be a very painful experience for the child, to feel unwanted especially since they aren’t able to wrap their head around the concept of failed marriages. It is up to the parents to convince the child that it is not so, because the long-term effects of this concept can be very detrimental for them.
Children whose parents are divorcing may often become withdrawn. Unable to process their feelings, they hold everything inside and put on a brave face because they don’t know what else to do. Later in life, that tendency to bottle up their most distressing emotions can be problematic. They may also learn negative behavior patterns from their parents’ broken model of what a relationship is supposed to look like and how it should function. Children who don’t withdraw may go to the other extreme and act out with misbehavior. This draws attention away from what’s causing them stress, but also masks the problem.

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