Effects of broken families on children

broken family

Effects of broken families on children

Family is a social institution that provides a sense of belonging and support to its members, they are often the primary source of love, care, and protection, and contribute to shape the development and well-being of children and adults alike. However, the idea of a happy family does not exist for everybody. Broken families, or families that have undergone separation, divorce, or other forms of dissolution, can have a significant impact on children’s emotional, social, and psychological well-being. Children may experience a range of negative effects as a result of their parents’ separation, which can affect their development and overall life outcomes. This article will examine some of such effects of broken families on children and what steps we can take to manage such effects or reduce their intensity for the better development of children.

Emotional Effects:

Children from broken families often experience a range of negative emotions. They may feel sadness, anger, fear, confusion, and grief. These emotions can be exacerbated by the feeling of loss of a parent or family unit, as well as the stress and conflict that often accompanies a divorce or separation. One of the most common emotional effects of broken families on children is a sense of insecurity. Children may feel like they cannot rely on their parents to provide emotional stability and support, leading to feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability. They may also experience a sense of guilt or responsibility for the breakup. They may feel like they did something wrong or that they could have prevented the divorce or separation. This can lead to a sense of shame and self-blame, which can negatively impact their self-esteem and self-worth.

Psychological Effects:

The psychological effects of broken families on children can be long-lasting and significant. One of the most common psychological effects is the development of anxiety and depression. Children may experience high levels of stress and uncertainty, leading to an increased risk of developing mental health issues. Another psychological effect of broken families on children is a heightened risk of behavioral problems. Children may act out or exhibit aggressive behavior as a result of the stress and turmoil in their lives. They may also have difficulty regulating their emotions and managing their impulses, leading to increased risk-taking behaviors for example engaging in substance abuse and other harmful behaviors, as a way of coping with their emotional distress.

Their academic performance also gets hampered to great levels. The stress and instability in their lives can make it difficult for them to focus and concentrate in school. Research has shown that children from broken families are more likely to experience lower academic achievement compared to those from intact families. This is likely due to the emotional distress that they are experiencing, which can affect their ability to concentrate and focus on their studies. They may have fewer resources available to them, such as financial support and educational resources, which can limit their opportunities for academic success. Apart from this they may have to deal with frequent changes in their living situation, which can disrupt their routines and make it difficult for them to succeed academically.

Social Effects:

Broken families can also have a significant impact on a child’s social development. Children from broken families may struggle to form healthy relationships with peers and adults. They may have difficulty trusting others and may struggle with social skills such as communication, empathy, and conflict resolution. They may also experience a sense of isolation and loneliness, and may feel like they don’t fit in with their peers or that they don’t have a sense of belonging. This can lead to a lack of social support and can further exacerbate their emotional and psychological difficulties.

Additionally, children from broken families may struggle with their sense of identity. They may feel like they don’t know who they are or where they belong. This can lead to feelings of confusion and frustration, as well as a lack of direction and purpose. The impact of broken families on children can also extend into adulthood. Children from broken families may be more likely to experience relationship difficulties in their own adult relationships, and may struggle with trust and commitment. They may also be more likely to experience mental health problems in adulthood and experience lower life satisfaction and overall well-being compared to those from intact families.

It is important to note that the effects of broken families on children are not universal. Some children may be more resilient and better able to cope with their parents’ separation, while others may be more vulnerable to negative outcomes. Additionally, the impact of broken families on children may vary depending on a range of factors, such as the child’s age, gender, and personality, as well as the quality of the parent-child relationship.

There are a number of factors that can help to mitigate the negative effects of broken families on children. For example, children may benefit from access to counseling and support services, which can help them to process their emotions and develop coping strategies. Additionally, maintaining a positive and supportive relationship with both parents can be beneficial for children, as it can help to mitigate the sense of loss and provide a sense of stability and security.

In conclusion, the effects of broken families on children can be far-reaching and long-lasting. Emotional effects such as insecurity and guilt, psychological effects such as anxiety and behavioral problems, and social effects such as isolation and difficulty forming relationships can all have a significant impact on a child’s well-being. It is important for parents, caregivers, and professionals to be aware of these effects and to provide appropriate support and intervention to help children cope and thrive despite the challenges they may face.

Blog written by a mental health professional, Ms. Titiksha

Akhtar, Shirina. (2013). Effects of Family Breakup on Children: A Study in Khulna City. Bangladesh e-Journal of Sociology, vol.10:1, pp.138-152, http://www.bangladeshsociology.org/BEJS%2010.1%20Final.pdf

Amato, P.R. & Booth. A. (1996). A Prospective Study of Divorce and Parent-Child Relationships. Journal of Marriage and the Family, vol.58, p.356-365. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1745-6924.2009.01114.x

Mc  Culloch.  (1962).  Parental  Deprivationpp.186-191,http://www.eajournals.or

Gaffal, Margit (2010). Psychological and Legal Perspectives of Marital Breakdown. New York: Springer Heidelberg Dordrecht.

Gul, Ayesha & Nadeemullah, Muhammad. (2020). Psycho Social Consequences of Broken Homes on Children: A Study of Divorced, Separated, Deserted and Blended Families. Pakistan Journal of Applied Social Sciences. 6. 10.46568/pjass. v6i1.3

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          What do you most likely to do when you experience anger? This 34-item measure assesses your anger responses for children and adolescents – and may tell you which response you tend to favour when experiencing this strong, unpleasant emotion. A list of statements are provided below. State whether each of the statements are not true, sometimes true, or often true. This measure was developed specifically for children and young adolescents.


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          I say something nasty to the person who made me angry.

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