Everything that happens to a child in their formative years potentially has a psychological effect, this can be good or bad, divorce is no different. The effect where divorce is concerned is most often bad, but that depends on the situation that caused the divorce. As an example, abuse from a parent is far worse than being separated from the parent. If a divorce quietened things down then the psychological effect would be positive.
Children contemplating divisive and potentially divorced parents sometimes must take sides and this is not good: They see one parent abusing the other and they have no choice but to intervene; therefore thrusting upon themselves grown-up problems they’re emotionally unable to manage. And often just clearing the air and getting back to something resembling normal life is the best that can be done in such abusive and disruptive households. And certainly divorce, in situations such as these; is the better of two options.
Now with that problem out of the way of clearer communications, how does divorce generally affect children and how can parents make it easier for them to accept the changes? An understanding of their child's world from a child's standpoint, and not from any grown-up view, is a must. Childhood is not an adult world, far from it; they're in the process of growing up in a fast changing world. Under any circumstances this is not always pleasant: From their first breath; learning to walk, learning to talk, their first day of school, new friends, bullies, and babysitters, adolescents, worrying over being accepted by their peers and so on and on is new to them.
Certainly they don't need the divorce bombshell just when they're beginning to believe in themselves. Although they would prefer it never to happen, once they're on their own and seeing the world as grown-ups, to some extent at least, it will cause less emotional damage. At least that's the reasoning behind parents who wait until their children are grown before they go their own way. This is possible when both parents face their dilemmas as adults and decided in favor of the child or children.
Divorce chips away at the secure foundation a child will need to face the future unafraid. Parents are supposed to be there to guide them to where the adults they are to be. What happens when they are not? Disrespect for the opposite gender, disrespect for the one supposedly responsible for the divorce, guilt over having been part of the problem, or so they believe, results. And overcompensation sometimes takes over and makes them determined to do a better job of rearing their children than their parents did.
In order to grow into emotionally responsible adults children need both parents in their lives. And they need to know that both of these parents love them and support them. Finding out that they're not important to one of the parents or maybe both of them is a terrific blow to a child's self-esteem. To offset divorce and its bad consequences parents need to prepare the child very carefully and to assure them they're loved by both parents.
Once that's established, children need to know that the problems have nothing to do with them and although living apart, both parents will be there for them. This is the ideal setting, but unfortunately it's all too often the rarer situation. What helps is if the child or children can see the parents respect each other instead of making derogatory remarks or shaming them in front of their children. No child likes to see his parents gossiped about and verbally abused and when it comes from the other parent it is absolutely the worst kind of torment a child has to face. When bad things the other parent has done must be explained to the child, it must be done in a loving and kind manner.
According to an online help guide children who are facing the problems of parents divorcing, need a stable atmosphere at home. They need parents who are patient, reassuring, paying attention to the child’s issues and problems, and parents who not only love them unconditionally but show it by their actions.
The above paragraph hints at perfection and adults know there's no such thing or place but children are too immature to realize that. Parents then need to at least attempt to put themselves in their child's shoes and to answer their unasked questions as well as the ones they ask about why a divorce is necessary.