The impact of divorce on children


Previously, divorce itself was thought to cause trauma to children.  Today, studies show us that it is not so much the act of divorce itself, as the level of conflict, particularly high conflict, throughout the divorce that creates adverse effects on children.  This, however, doesn’t mean children are ‘fine’ with divorce.

Here are some updated statistics:

  • 42% and 45% of marriages in the US will end in divorce.
  • 50% of children in the US will see their parents get divorced in their lifetime.
  • 43% of children in the US are living without their father involved in their lives.

Children react in a variety of ways.  While this is not an exhaustive list, the general response tends to be expressions of sadness, confusion, grief, or anger; they often blame themselves.  They also react in age-specific ways:  younger children tend to have separation anxiety, can be fussier, develop toileting issues where there were previously none, or have nightmares.  Older children tend to distance themselves both emotionally and physically, show signs of depression or anxiety, or even engage in socially deviant behavior (e.g. try cigarettes or drugs, not come home on time, hang out with the ‘wrong’ crowd, etc.).

While divorce can be an excruciating and lengthy process, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.  Often, the best way to navigate divorce is with professional help from a Therapist who is systemically trained and who specializes in working with divorce or high conflict divorce.  Ho`oko Counseling Center provides services for these types of situations.  Often people don’t realize that counseling services are covered by most major health insurances. 

If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our office at 808-375-7712 or visit us online at

Ho’okō LLC Laniakea Plaza

94-1221 Ka Uka Blvd., Suite B202

Waipahu, HI 96797

Phone: (808) 375-7712
Fax: (808) 671-0222


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