Divorce is difficult for all involved, especially offspring. Children of divorced parents sometimes endure struggles far into adulthood.

I’ve been divorced and I understand how it affected my own children. I’ve also watched my younger cousins move from home to home during their parent’s divorce as well. Children of divorced parents often bear mental scars which can remain hidden for years.

The scars of my children and my family members weren’t that noticeable at first. They continued to attend school and play with friends just as before. But over time, their actions started to reflect the hurt they had kept buried deep within.

In adulthood, my oldest child and his cousins now struggle with things that reflect the turmoil their younger selves had to endure.

Does divorce leave long-term scars?

Not all scars can be seen. In fact, mental scars can lay dormant for many years after trauma. Children of divorced parents often hide many internal struggles in hopes that life will return to normal.

While some children endure the divorce of their parents pretty well, some grow into troubled adults later on. Some of these struggles are subtle, so it can be hard to recognize the presence of this pain. There are a few mentionable struggles that can help you understand the plight of children with divorced parents.

1. Future divorce

Children of divorced parents often grow up to divorce their mate as well. It’s seen more often than not. Now, there’s an interesting reason for this too.

It seems that children from divorced parents want so badly for things to go right, thus they often marry young in an attempt to seal a union with another. Unfortunately, many times getting married as youths leads to divorce as well. So, it’s as if history repeats itself in this case.

2. Physical health problems

Some children, whose parent’s divorced, later endured many physical ailments. Let’s take the common stroke for instance. Stress is often the culprit of strokes and heart attacks, and with childhood parental divorce, a child’s physiology is changed from stress.

This change in physiology can be long-lasting and cause permanent illnesses as well. Children of divorced parents can develop a large range of illnesses due to the stress they endure during and after the divorce, and these symptoms can be subtle.

3. Relationship issues

Children of divorced parents are more inclined to experience relationship problems. They remember what their parents endured when the marriage was ending and so they apply these issues to their own relationships.

Sometimes, the relationship can be going well, but to the child of divorced parents, there could be “imagined” problems.

These problems, which sometimes are all an illusion, can cause a rift to develop between partners. This same problem can develop in non-intimate relationships such as with friends and family as well. It’s not unknown to have problems among siblings because of the divorce of their parents.

4. Future crime

For many adults who witnessed the divorce of their parents during youth, crime becomes an issue. Sometimes these adults find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, and then in jail. In many cases, the stress of divorce for a child leaves an imprint that keeps the adult troubled.

Troubled people often keep company with others who are like them, even those who live a life of crime. This kind of behavior can be contagious, especially for adults from stressful childhoods.

Many adults resort to theft, drinking under the influence and even violence because of the skewed way in which they see reality. Ultimately, their parent’s divorce has left subtle scars.

5. School problems

Children with divorced parents will have a predilection toward trouble in school. Because of the pain they’ve endured, they will have trouble focusing and making friends. They may also endure bullying. If they attend graduate school or return to college later in life, they will encounter many of the same problems.

6. Poor social life

Sometimes children of divorced parents grow up to struggle in social aspects as well, separate from problems in school. Even after reaching adulthood, these individuals will have a hard time making friends and attending social events.

In many cases, these adults from broken families will be socially awkward, and even some choosing to stay to themselves most of the time. While it’s not abnormal to be an introvert, it is rather unhealthy to be reclusive due to scars from childhood trauma.

Healing the struggles

While deep-set issues are the hardest to heal, there’s always hope. Confronting the demons of your past, even the divorce of your parents can help you understand why life seems so hard. While knowing the root of the problem cannot create miracles by itself, it can get you started on the road to recovery.

No matter what you’re dealing with or where it came from, remember one thing. There’s always time to create a new chapter in your life. After all, you cannot change the past, but you sure can decide how the story will end. Good luck and always keep trying.


  1. https://theweek.com
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com

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