Common Psychological Issues with Kids When Parents Are Divorcing

When parents get a divorce, even when they try to ensure that the kids are not affected, their kids do experience more psychological issues than kids whose parents don’t divorce. Thankfully, if you are paying attention to how your children are experiencing your divorce, you can work toward mitigating any long-term issues with counseling and good parenting.


A child often cannot tell you that they are experiencing anxiety and stress. Instead, they may talk a lot about headaches, stomach aches, and other aches and pains. They may say that they feel sick when there are no indications that they are. Sometimes this manifests as moodiness too. The main thing is to check in with your kids by verbally letting them know that it’s not their fault and that everything is going to be okay.

Conduct Disorders

For some children, their feelings will come out as bad behavior. They may seem to purposely do the opposite of what you want them to do. They may act this way with one or both parents, or outside of the house with teachers and peers. Regardless, if this is new behavior for your child, make sure you get help with it from a professional.


Some kids, especially teenagers, will act out by missing school and even using drugs. The best way to prevent this from happening is to be open with your teenager about what is happening and make sure they know that they can get help from a professional if they think they need someone to talk to who is not in the family.

Impulse Control

For some kids, their issues will show as seeming to have no impulse control. A young child might throw a fit, a toddler might run in the road, a school-age child might choose to cut their brother’s hair. They might make some fast and bad choices. The main thing to do is to be aware of what your children are doing.


If your child is not able to sleep at night, it’s probably due to anxiety that is causing them to think about things too much while they’re supposed to be sleeping. Have conversations with your child about the plans so that they aren’t afraid of being homeless or losing their other parent.


When things happen to you that you have no choices about, it can make you feel powerless. For some kids, this will show up as depression. Depression might look like sleeping a lot, missing school, getting lower grades, and avoiding the family or even friends.

Substance Abuse

Many older children of divorce will turn to drugs, alcohol, and food to fill the void that they’re feeling. They may believe that blotting out the feelings with the substance helps them feel normal for a moment, but of course it’s perilous.

Identity Crisis

When you’re no longer a member of an intact family that does the family stuff it does, who are you? This can happen to teenagers who are experiencing a divorce – especially if they discovered something about their parents they never knew, such as an affair.

If your children are experiencing any of these psychology issues during and after your divorce, consider finding a counselor that is experienced in dealing with the issues that are associated with divorce. The guidance you can get as a parent will be invaluable and ensure that the effects are temporary.

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