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Why do children for divorced homes have so many issues?

relationshipguru's picture

Has anyone else noticed that children of divorced homes have a lot more serious issues than children from non-divorced homes? Some issues I've noticed are.....

-a strong sense of entitlement ("me, me me....")

-behavioral issues (mood swings, excessive lying, manipulative, greedy, lack of concern for others and in some cases anti-social traits)

and when they get older........

-Substance abuse issues (alcohol, marijuana, pills, street drugs)

-Increased criminal behavior

-Lack of motivation as adults (they often live with their parents well beyond the appropriate years or have jobs that do not pay enough to pay their bills)


I feel the reason behind this is .....

- Their parents coddling and indulging them because of divorce guilt.

-An example was set by their parents that relationships and people are replacable. They do not value people nor relationships.

-Often one or more of their biological parents is very selfish or even narcissistic (emotionally disconnected, unstable, a "me,me,me" person)

tog redux's picture

First off, not all kids from divorced homes are the same. Plenty go on to do very well.

But it is considered an "adverse childhood event" - and a lot of kids from divorced homes lose contact with their fathers, and end up in a lower standard of living with a stressed out single mother.  It's popular on here to think kids of divorce should just "get over it", but it does affect many people very deeply.

Most of the stories you hear on here? Yes, damage comes from coddling parents, or alienating parents, or both.  Some people get remarried quickly without thinking about their kids needs at all.

relationshipguru's picture

Yes relationship hopping seems to be very common amongst divorced bios. I wonder what the adverse effects are on these kids to have multiple people in and out of their lives in parental roles?

tog redux's picture

And to be expected to "blend" with step-siblings that they don't like.  Some people seem to put their own need for a partner ahead of their kids' needs.

OKtoStep's picture

Do you have any data to back up the relationship hopping claim? What constitutes relationship hopping?

readingandlearning's picture

Relationship hopping means having a revolving door of boyfriends/girlfriends or not being able to stay single for any period of time. Moving on from one relationship to the next. It seems to be a common behavior among these divorcees whom have children.

Harry's picture

They put themselves above the family. Put themselves and there happiness above making a home for there kids.  So how do you expect the kids to turn out.  It's was know to them early on, it's every man and woman for themselves.  either  kids demand loves and attention for themselves, or parents will take it all 

ndc's picture

I think my SD7 should be OK, because up until a couple weeks ago she didn't even know her parents were divorced. Somehow the topic of divorce came up, and she was talking about other kids whose parents were divorced as if her own parents weren't. I reminded her (or thought I was reminding her) that her parents are divorced too, and she was shocked.  She was like "daddy was married before you? And mommy was married before SF?" I guess she never understood that her parents were married to each other. I was just shaking my head. If it had been SD4, I might have understood, because she was barely a year old when her parents separated.  I'm thinking neither DH nor BM ever mentioned divorce to the skids, even though they clearly understand their parents aren't together.

Livingoutloud's picture

Ex and I are divorced and our DD has zero issues. There are plenty of losers who were raised in intact families. No correlation  

Husband's wife's picture

Spoiled by the guilt. Wrong partners chosen to procreate, early mariages / parenting with people not realizing what parenting is. And you name it 

BethAnne's picture

What tog said:

Look into ACE's. ACE stands for adverse childhood experiences. A major study in the 90's found that people who had multiple ACE's suffered from an increased risk of a range of negative outcomes into adulthood. Other studies since then have had similar findings. One of the adverse experiences is divorce or separation of parents. Studies find that most people have had at least one ACE (around 60% of people in studies) but from what I can tell (from my limited googling) the risk of adverse outcomes increases significantly for people who have experienced 3 or more (about 20-25% of study participants). 

Increased numbers of ACEs correlate with increased risks of injury, more mental health problems, unplanned pregancies, complictions with pregancies, higher risk of getting infectious diseases (including STI's, HIV), increased occurance of chronic diseases (cancer, diabetes..), increased likelyhood of risky behaviors and addictions and reduced opportunities in terms of education, occupation and income. Life expectancy has also been shown to be lower for those with more ACEs.

One way that has been suggested for countering negative outcomes for individual children who have experienced multiple ACEs seems to be strong relationships with adults that they trust and who can be relied apon and from whom they can learn skills to help their general resiliance. They learn the skills best in these tyoes of relationships where they can gain emotional learning in safe, stable nurturing relationships.  

On a societal level programs that reduce inequality and focus on aiding parents and families are what have been focused on. Though studies show that ACEs affect all sections of society. 

I think that there are probably more stepkids talked about on here that have multiple ACEs than some would imagine and many who find it difficult to form the kind of nurturing relationships with stable adults that can help counter these expereiences. 

tog redux's picture

Yes, this. Even those who seem to be fine may have internal struggles. It's a traumatic event for many kids, no matter how much people downplay it.

Livingoutloud's picture

That's true. But same could be said about many intact families. Just because mommy and daddy aren't divorced,  doesn't mean children aren't traumatized on a daily basis. Many kids wound be better off if parents split. Intact families just aren't being studied and analyzed in the same manner and there is no statistics on that. So I don't see how we can say that divorce is more traumatic for children than parents staying together. There is no statistics on that 

tog redux's picture

Not all divorces are bad. But most divorces are traumatic for kids. Think of how hard it is to split up from someone, it's hard for kids to have their home split up. 

Yes, kids in intact families can have "ACES" too, such as abuse or a parent with substance abuse. But that doesn't mean divorce isn't traumatic for kids, it is. 

I know no one wants to think they did anything to harm their kids but it's pretty clear that divorce can be harmful to them. Yes, sometimes it's necessary. But people shouldn't fool themselves that it doesn't affect their kids at all. 

That's why the ACE scale is nice. Divorce is just one ACE and there are many more that can be had in an intact family. But divorce is an ACE. 

Livingoutloud's picture

I am not saying divorce is great. I am just saying intact families could be just as bad for the kids. When someone starts a threat by stating that kids of divorce are messed up, my response is: so are many kids from intact families, just no one talks about it. 

tog redux's picture

I agree, and I too said that many kids from divorced families do fine.

There is tendency on here for people to not allow kids to have any grief about divorce, even though they themselves may have had a hard time with their own divorce.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I think that kids with major behavior problems and bioparents with major dysfunction are probably overrepresented as subjects on this site compared to the general population. I had been divorced for 10 years and once before dated a divorced father, and i didn't have any issues with my own or the ex SO's kids in the past that would have led me to a site like this. It was only after getting myself into a very messed up situation that i did the google searches that led me here. 

Rags's picture

Yep.  Data does not lie and STalk is by design a concentration of people dealing with Skids and partners who are far from the norm even for those who have navigated divorce or are  a COD.

CLove's picture

So - I would like to state that trying to find a correlation between Divorce and messed up kids is a moving target, with a complex algorithm.

Simply put, however, Toxic People are more likely to produce Toxic Offspring. The children pattern themselves after what the parents present. That or they have DNA-prescribed pre-disposition. The kids have to WANT to be different. But there are so many factors, and one of them we dont really talk about here is perspective.

Like, what if we ARE the crazy ones. What if we have unrealistic expectations. What if the kids we cannot stand to be around are ANGELS.

I always have said this to SD13 - her parents had a toxic relationship that broke up their marriage. Just because they divorced, the toxicity didnt just go away and evaporate, it stuck around and continues on, due to shared custody schedule and her being a minor. 

SD21 Feral Forger always likes to blame everything on the divorce. The lies, the stealing, the filth, the rudeness, the check forgery. Its ALL because of the divorce...

Rags's picture

Great comment.

I think they perspective certainly is critical.  I also believe that there are critical characteristics that are often present to delineate between valid and invalid perspective.

Arrest records.

Serial divorce and serial multi partner breeding.

Toleration if inappropriate behavior and poor performance 


Compared to well established and enforced personal and family behavioral and performance  standards..

Zero tolerance for voluntary victim status and tolerating kids, Xs etc.... to use past experiences  as excuses for repeated poor decisions and life performance.

Gracefulsilver's picture

I am divorced and have 2 children.  They are now very well adjusted and confident 18 yr old and 15 yr old.  Yes, they have issues but none that would not be expected from an intact family with a father that is Bi-Polar.  My 18 year old s recieveing recruit ment letters from the top design schools in NY and my 15 yr old is preparing to graduate from high school and enter the military.

Now my ex-SO his daughter is a bucket of entitlement and selfishness and immaturity.  I really believe the difference is the parents willingness to identify, acknowledge, and address the problem before it grows to a troubled adult.  My children have been held accountable for each and every action they took good or bad.  His daughter never had any consequences for her actions until her social media was reflecting her true personality.  Still both her parents did not hold her accountable and instead blamed the other children, 2 entire High Schools, and the Faculty.  I mean truly if you make racially degrading comments about black people to black people you should expect to have problems with them.  But no their precious daughter was not to blame and now they are paying the price for allowing her to become thismonster.  She is 15 yrs old and ran away from home twice.  the second time she has not returned at all after a month of being gone.  She believes it is her right to demand being treated with respect when she constantly disrespects every one no matter what they do or say.  She was raised by her welfare bum BM and still believes she has some superiority that entitles her to the whole world stopping what they are doing and start kissing her a$$.  Do not believe it is just divorce that causes this behavior in stepkids.  Believe it is the parents.

futurobrillante99's picture

My XH1 and I divorced when our youngest was in his last year of high school. Of the older two, one was in college and the other working and living independently. My kids aren't perfect but they aren't drug addicts, alcoholics, criminals and they don't need mommy and daddy to support them. The youngest is Autistic and lives with me, but we're diligently working on getting him employed and independent.

I won't say there wasn't any dysfunction in our family, but when my XH1 and I divorced, we continued to work TOGETHER for the sake of our children. I think that has been the major advantage. I didn't hate him and I didn't try to poison my children against him.

Not all children of divorce are jerks and losers, but you'll hear more about the ones that are from their STEP-PARENTS!