location 1580 N. Northwest Highway, Suite 12, Park Ridge, IL 60068
Facebook Linkedin
George Skuros
Free Consultations
phone 312-884-1222

Erwin Barillas

Erwin Barillas is the newest winner of the Law Office of George J. Skuros Justice in Family Law Scholarship. For the upcoming Spring 2024 semester, we are awarding Erwin with a $1,000 scholarship to use towards his academic expenses as he wraps up his senior year of college. After he graduates, Erwin plans to pursue a master’s degree and a law degree. We wish Erwin the best of luck as he pursues his dreams.

Erwin Barillas

Read Erwins's Essay:


The dissolution of a marriage, while a tumultuous event for adults, carries profound implications for the children involved. Drawing on the works of Kleinsorge and Covitz (2012), Demo and Acock (1988), Williams-Owens (2017), and Hess and Camara (1979), this essay explores the multifaceted impact of divorce on children's behavior and emotions. By delving into developmental considerations, the behavioral effects, and the mediating factors in post-divorce family relationships, we aim to unravel the intricate tapestry of how divorce molds the emotional landscape of children.

Understanding Developmental Considerations

Kleinsorge and Covitz (2012) provide valuable insights into the developmental considerations that influence the impact of divorce on children. The authors emphasize the significance of age and developmental stage in shaping a child's response to divorce. Younger children, they argue, may struggle to comprehend the complexities of divorce, leading to heightened anxiety and fear of abandonment. In contrast, adolescents may grapple with issues related to identity and the formation of intimate relationships.

This developmental lens allows us to appreciate that the effects of divorce are not uniform across age groups. Younger children may exhibit regressive behaviors, such as bed-wetting or clinging to caregivers, as manifestations of their distress. Adolescents, on the other hand, might experience challenges in forming and maintaining healthy relationships due to the disruption of their foundational family structure.

The Impact on Children's Behavior

Demo and Acock's seminal work in 1988 sheds light on the broader impact of divorce on children's behavior. They argue that the behavioral changes observed in children post-divorce are not incidental but reflective of profound emotional shifts. The authors highlight how disruptive behaviors, academic struggles, and altered social dynamics can all be traced back to the emotional turmoil induced by divorce.

Williams-Owens (2017) complements this perspective by focusing specifically on the behavioral effects of divorce. Her work emphasizes that the destabilization of the family unit can lead to increased aggression, withdrawal, or a combination of both in children. Furthermore, she explores how the behavioral manifestations are often the child's attempt to cope with the emotional upheaval caused by the divorce.

Integrating these insights, it becomes evident that behavioral changes are not isolated occurrences but interconnected responses to the emotional landscape shaped by divorce. From academic challenges to alterations in social interactions, children navigate a complex web of emotions that find expression in their behavior.

Post-Divorce Family Relationships as Mediating Factors

Hess and Camara's (1979) exploration of post-divorce family relationships introduces a critical perspective into understanding the mediating factors that influence the consequences of divorce for children. The authors argue that the quality of post-divorce relationships, particularly between parents and between the child and the custodial parent, significantly impacts the child's emotional well-being.

Positive post-divorce family relationships can act as a buffer against the negative consequences of divorce. When children experience ongoing, supportive relationships with both parents, the potential for behavioral and emotional difficulties diminishes. In contrast, hostile or strained relationships can exacerbate the challenges children face in adapting to the new family dynamic.

These mediating factors underscore the importance of continued parental involvement and a nurturing post-divorce environment. The nature of relationships within the reconfigured family becomes instrumental in shaping how children perceive and navigate the emotional aftermath of divorce.

A Holistic Understanding of the Impact of Divorce on Children

Synthesizing the insights from Kleinsorge and Covitz (2012), Demo and Acock (1988), Williams-Owens (2017), and Hess and Camara (1979) offers a comprehensive understanding of the impact of divorce on children's behavior and emotions. The developmental considerations provide a nuanced lens, acknowledging that the effects vary across age groups. Younger children may grapple with fears of abandonment, while adolescents navigate identity and relationship formation.

The behavioral effects, as explored by Demo and Acock (1988) and Williams-Owens (2017), reveal the intricate interplay between emotions and actions. Disruptive behaviors, academic struggles, and altered social dynamics are not isolated phenomena but interconnected responses to the emotional turmoil induced by divorce. The destabilization of the family unit becomes a catalyst for a spectrum of behavioral manifestations.

Hess and Camara's (1979) exploration of post-divorce family relationships completes the picture, emphasizing the role of these relationships as mediating factors. Positive relationships act as a protective shield, mitigating the potential negative consequences of divorce, while strained relationships can amplify the challenges children face.

In conclusion, the impact of divorce on children's behavior and emotions is a complex tapestry woven from various threads of developmental considerations, behavioral manifestations, and post-divorce family relationships. Recognizing this complexity is crucial for parents, educators, and mental health professionals as they navigate the challenges faced by children of divorce. By understanding the multifaceted nature of these impacts, we can work towards creating supportive environments that nurture resilience and facilitate healthy emotional development in the aftermath of divorce.

Works Cited

Covitz, Lynne M., and Christy Kleinsorge. "Impact of Divorce on Children: Developmental Considerations." Pediatrics in Review, vol. 33, no. 4, 2012, pp. 147-155.

Demo, David H., and Alan C. Acock. "The Impact of Divorce on Children." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1988, pp. 619-648.

Hess, Robert D., and Kathleen A. Camara. "Post‐divorce Family Relationships as Mediating Factors in the Consequences of Divorce for Children." Journal of Social Issues, vol. 35, no. 4, 1979, pp. 79-96.

Williams-Owens, Wanda M. "The Behavioral Effects Divorce Can Have on Children." 2017.

Back to Top