The impact of divorce on kids: When parents get divorced, the children get divorced too



I moved to Oregon when I was on the cusp of turning five years old. I was moved because my parents divorced. Now, I’m not about to give you a sob story, but I’ve begun to have a continuous conversation between me and my close friend (who also lives within a divorced family) about the greater impacts of it.

There is an understanding that when parents’ divorce, children are split up and shared. I’ve always thought of it as if the children too are divorced. They never went through the black and white wedding, but they were most likely part of a promise made. And that promise was broken, in a clean manner or not.

But the interesting thing is that the impact of divorce differs depending on the child or parent. Parents feel it, live through it in bright colors, and so might older children. Younger children do not.

Life continues as somewhat normal as things do not fully get processed in their young minds. Then, let’s say five or six years later, more questions are raised and there is a scramble to understand what had happened.

This is all natural, but what happens when the parents aren’t willing to speak? If all the questions a kid has are left unanswered, and if they are never fully flushed out, then when the child grows older, does divorce not matter? Will marriage for them hold less gravity?

This is all hypothetical, but there are probably people thinking divorce is nothing to bat an eye at. I know sometimes it truly is best to break apart a marriage, but how that break happens is important.

My mother brought up that marriage today has less meaning than it did when she got married, that the intentions going into it are more selfish.

I don’t fully agree with this, but this perspective feeds into the idea that if the gravity of divorce lessens, do those tying the knot not fully understand the longevity that being married implies?

As a teenager, I think how adults address the culture around divorce is an important conversation and one that impacts children, no matter what age.


Elisabeth Dellit is a 9th Grader at Jesuit High School. She enjoys reading, writing creative stories, baking/cooking and participating in her school’s drama program.