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Factors that affect how Children of Divorce Adjust to their new Life Situation

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Divorce potentially interrupts the normal progress of development by threatening primary bonds, creating conflicts of loyalty that require developmentally inappropriate levels of sensitivity and thought, and disrupts internalized conceptions of social reality.  These combine to absorb the mental concentration and emotional energy of the child.  The degree to which the divorce is handled by parents in a way that minimizes these effects will help determine whether there are behavioral consequences for the child and how severe these effects will be.(Hess & Camara, 1979, p.82).

Divorce is no longer viewed by most theorists as a ‘disaster‘, but rather as a ‘crisis‘ or ‘turning‘ point with positive or negative outcomes for children of divorce depending on certain variables:

  • The age, gender and temperament of the child
  • The length of time parents have been separated
  • The degree of ongoing conflict between divorced parents
  • The amount of environmental changes the child experiences
  • The degree of extra-familial support from which the child can access help
  • The availability of the non-custodial parent
  • The level of social cognition the child employs to understand the reasons for his/her parents’ divorce, and the ongoing divorce process
  • The quality of the relationship the child experiences with his/her parents and possible stepparents
  • The disciplining procedures used by parents
  • The parenting style the parents use
  • The changes in family structure the child has to adjust to

Any additional advise you would like to make in this regard, please email Mandy at mandy@swim-with-dolphins.co.za



Hess, R.D. & Camara, K.A.  (1979).  Post-divorce family relationships as mediating factors in the consequences of divorce for children.  Journal of Social Issues, 35, 79-96