There are numerous reasons why divorce is harmful to children. How children are harmed may vary depending upon their ages and the specific circumstances of the state of the relationship of the parents, the degree of animosity involved, and whether the breakup is amicable or contested. Regardless of the situation, children are minors—they are vulnerable, and they are dependent upon the adults in their lives, especially their parents, for reassurance, shelter, and the supply of their physical and emotional needs.
When parents divorce, the sense of security of a sheltered home life is shattered, and children often experience acute anxiety. They may wonder where they will stay, who will take care of them, and whether their parents will lose their love for them as they did for each other. In young children, insecurity may manifest in behavior such as whining, clinging, bedwetting, and tantrums. Older children may experience anger and depression. They may also experience a stigma among their peers of being a child with only one parent. This may have a negative effect on their performance at school and at extracurricular activities. Some children blame themselves for their parents breaking up, and this may lead to long-term trauma.
Children also go through the stress of seeing their parents suffering emotionally after the breakup. They feel a sense of loss due to decreased contact with the parent who does not have primary custody. They often lose touch with extended family of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. They may also become affected by the loss of income of living in a smaller home with a single parent. The parent they live with may need to work, and the decreased supervision could cause older children to get into trouble.
Some problems that children have as a result of the divorce of their parents are long-term. For instance, statistics show that children of parents who have divorced are more likely to have marriages that also end in divorce. Additionally, inheritance issues become complicated when divorced parents remarry and have new families.
In conclusion, we can see that although every situation is unique, there are many ways that children can experience harm when marriages end in divorce.