Separation + Divorce

child_+_adolescent

Separation + Divorce

Approximately 50% of Australian marriages end in divorce. For children, divorce and separation can be stressful and confusing: some children adjust well, but others develop emotional and behavioural problems, including:

  • Anger (which may manifest as behavioral outbursts, or other inappropriate behaviours)
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness/Depression


Younger children in particular are at higher risk for developing emotional and behavioural problems after divorce. They have lesser developed coping skills and their ability to understand changes to their family unit is limited. Many young children find it difficult to understand why mum and dad can’t get along and some children blame themselves for the divorce.

How Can I Tell If My Child Is Distressed?

Most kids aren’t able to put their distress into words. Even when they can describe their feelings, when there’s high parent conflict, children might not feel safe to express how they’re feelings, and when one or both parents are struggling to cope, children may avoid talking about their feelings to protect their parents. Non-verbal warning signs that may indicate distress include:

  • Sleep problems
  • Poor concentration
  • Disrupted appetite
  • Increased clinginess
  • Unexplained headaches, stomach aches, or other physical symptoms
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Trouble at school
  • Increased behavioural problems


Click here for more information about how to help your child cope with separation and divorce.