The Effect of Divorce in the Family


The decision to get a divorce and to follow the necessary steps is a slow and painful process.

Aside from the implications that divorce has upon work, family and social connections, those going through divorce tend to experience, in more or less extent, the following emotions:

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Remorse
  • Sense of failure
  • Guilt
  • Insecurity
  • Sense of isolation
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of Identity.

Habits and behaviors also undergo changes.  For example, those under the effect of divorce may act impulsively, lost of appetite, use of alcoholic beverages or other psychoactive substances, experience sleep difficulties and run the risk of accidents because of lack of attention and concentration.  This experiences are typical when experiencing a loss.  Even though it may become liberation, divorce is also a loss: of a companion, belonging, familiar lifestyle, money, social network,m self-esteem and plans for a common future.

Both men and women experience negative feeling with divorce.  These effect may last several months or even years.  If you are in the midst of divorce, you should understand that all these events are normal and will  not last forever.  Symptoms will go away with a little time, patience, and the support supplied by friends and family.

Effect of Divorce on Children

While varying from case to case, children always receive the bitter part of their parents’ divorce.  In the large majority of cases, the effect is temporary, although in some cases, a divorce may leave scars for life.

Explain Divorce to the Children

With the exception of those younger than 3 years, children have the right to receive an explanation adequate to their age.  It is not pleasant activity, but it must be done.

  • Choose a quite moment:  Circumstances around divorce tend to be full of emotional ups and downs.  Set a special day apart to explain to your child/children that you are going to divorce.  Do not offer details, but be clear on what is going to happen to the couple, and especially to the children.  Do not focus too much on the past but rather on the future arrangement to be made or the freedom that was impossible before
  • Think of what you are going to say:  reflect on the content of your explanation.  Ideally, both parents should face the task together, sharing with their children what they have mutually agreed.
  • Do not say it all at once:  In some families, children do not anticipate such news and it may become too traumatic.  In this cases, you need to speak little by little until they are told that divorce is inevitable.
  • Be prepared for their questions.  It is common that children ask many questions; and that is good.  But you should know how you will answer questions such as: ‘what is going to happen with me?’  ‘will I never be able to play with Dad/Mum?’  ‘who is going to take me to school?’ ‘who is going to take care of my welfare?’ etc.  Before approaching the discussion, imagine every possible question you might be ask and be prepare to answer them.

After this discussions, it is normal that the children will feel affected, but this is a regular step in the process of acceptance and healing.


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