Children and divorce

Divorce is one of the most common problems within a family. The children often suffer from arguments between the parents and suffer a lot from this period. What happens to a child during a divorce? Every year there are 70,000 children whose parents separate. Every child experiences a divorce in their own way. How a child experiences it depends on, for example, his character and age. The way in which the divorce proceeds and is arranged also has a major influence on this. It can be traumatizing for children if their parents split up with a lot of arguing.

Child’s feelings

A child of parents who are divorcing may initially be angry and sad. Children can behave differently due to these emotional problems. For example, they may start wetting the bed (again) or argue with peers. They may also challenge their parents in a certain way and try to cross boundaries.
A child can also become scared and lonely. His life is now taking a different turn with the divorce and he feels his permanent home base is disappearing. Some children can become very clingy to one of the parents during or after a divorce. The child is afraid of being abandoned by the parents and needs attention and support.
Older children may be relieved by this twist. People often divorce for a reason and there have been many arguments in the years leading up to the divorce. Now that these arguments are largely over, the child can breathe calmly again and feels relieved that he is no longer in such a tense atmosphere.
Parents themselves often cause loyalty conflict in children. They incite children against each other or spoil their children just to show that they are ‘the fun parent’. This is not the way to deal with a divorce and a conflict of loyalty does not have to arise with a child if the parents take this into account. A child has no use for a ”nice” parent. A child wants a safe base and parents he can trust.

Facts and tips


  • Children with divorced parents are twice as likely to get divorced later in life
  • Children with divorced parents are twice as likely to have psychological problems
  • Children with divorced parents perform worse at school
  • Children with divorced parents have lower self-esteem
  • Children of divorced parents have more problems with social relationships
  • 15% of children of divorced parents no longer have contact with the non-resident parent after a year


Tips for parents

Always put the interests of the child first. Research has shown that parents become happier after a divorce, but children do not. Parents divorce for their own happiness, not for that of the children. Therefore, take your children into account and grant them a relationship with both their parents. No matter how bad your relationship with your ex may be, this is not only about your happiness but also that of your children. So don’t deny them that relationship with their other parent.
Make good agreements and put them on paper. If necessary, use a mediator to arrange matters for you. Agree in advance who will have the children and when, so that there are no arguments about this later. If the children are a bit older, give them their say in this as well. They can speak for themselves just fine as long as you don’t give them the feeling that they are choosing ”the other side” if they choose to go on holiday with your ex in the summer. Give them that freedom when they are the right age.

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