Family Disintegration and Its Effects on Children

The disintegration of a family has serious effects on the most vulnerable members: children. However, these effects are often unknown and underestimated. Today we'll discuss different types of family disintegration and their consequences.
Family Disintegration and Its Effects on Children

Last update: 28 July, 2018

Family disintegration is a major issue in today’s society. Just the same, it’s an issue that we often tend to overlook. While family disintegration has existed since the beginning of time, it’s becoming more and more common.

However, few are familiar with the serious effects that family disintegration causes. When a family falls apart, it can have major consequences, especially on the smallest, most vulnerable members: children.

It’s true that there is a general idea among society about family disintegration, however, we lack deep, in-depth knowledge.

When we speak of the disintegration of a family, we’re not only referring to cases of divorce and separation. We’re also referring to families that live under the same roof, but where conflict is constantly present.

Many families lack common objectives and fail to fulfill their basic functions. These include nourishment, care, affection and education.

Family Disintegration

Types of family disintegration

In today’s society, the concept of family disintegration can have a wide variety of particularities, and different versions exist. Today we’ll go over certain situations that can occur within the context of a family.

  • Separation on good terms with shared custody. When parents separate on good terms and agree to share custody, children usually don’t suffer any serious consequences. This is because the separation is the result of an agreed decision on behalf of both parents. The dynamics and logistics of the relationship between the parents obviously changes. Things aren’t the way they were before. Shared custody minimizes or may even prevent trauma altogether, as the child enjoys exclusive attention from both parents.
  • Complicated separation and problems with custody. In many cases, the separation or divorce of parents is quite unpleasant. This is especially true when things like lies, infidelity and custody battles come into play. When this occurs, the situation is more painful and harmful for the child.
  • Divorce with family violence. Without a doubt, these are the most serious circumstances. The children have already had to suffer traumatic situations due to domestic violence. This violence may have been between the parents, or towards the child. Living among yelling, insults, humiliation or physical violence gravely affects children. Therefore, these children need psychological assistance to overcome the situation and lead a healthy life.

It’s logical that, whatever the situation may be,  family disintegration causes children to suffer from the start. Children who live through family brokenness experience insecurity and the fear of permanent parental separation. They fear that their family will never be united.

In most cases, this is a passing feeling that can be solved with love and dedication on behalf of both parents. Often, children can carry on with their lives without suffering consequences as far as their mental health. This, of course, depends greatly on how parents manage the situation.

It’s important that parents avoid insults and parental alienation. Parents should never manipulate their children or pressure them to take sides. 

No matter how much damage your ex has caused you, you should never put your children in the middle. And under no circumstance should you ever use your child as a tool in the divorce process.

Family Disintegration

How does family disintegration affect children?

Ideally, parents should look out for the interests of their children above all else. This means striving to minimize the effects of the family’s disintegration on children as much as possible.

The child should be able to maintain a normal relationship with both parents if possible. Changes to the child’s routine should also be kept at a minimum.

If not, the family’s disintegration will likely have irreversible and long-lasting effects on the child. These can include regressive behavior, sleeping problems, loss of appetite, stress, anxiety and academic failure. In fact, the child may be prone to repeating the same destructive behaviors he or she has witnessed.

“In any separation process, what’s most important is the child’s well-being”

If these issues aren’t dealt with in time, they can last into adolescence. This time period brings on a whole new set of difficulties. The child may develop hatred towards the parents, especially towards whomever he or she considers to be most guilty.

Family disintegration is truly a problem. Of course, things don’t always work out the way we would like, or the way we expected. Just the same, we need to be aware that messy separations can affect a child’s development in long-lasting ways. Therefore, protecting our children should always be our biggest priority.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.