Stress from Divorce Can Hurt Child's Grades

Stress from Divorce Can Hurt Child's GradesA child’s academic performance often declines when his or her parents are going through a divorce. The amount of decline depends on how good of a student he or she was before the divorce. A normally good student may have an uncharacteristic dip in his or her grades. A struggling student may become uninterested in academics and receive more failing grades. Divorce-related stress can throw either type of student off his or her academic track.

Divorce Effect

Children of divorce feel many emotions that can change their behavior, including:

  • Anxiety about their future living arrangements;
  • Depression about the end of their normal family relationship;
  • Pressure to take on additional responsibilities at home;
  • Anger at their parents for breaking up the family;
  • Guilt if they blame themselves for the divorce; and
  • Loneliness because their parents do not have as much time to spend with them.

Parents are likely to notice the effect the divorce has on their children if the children are punished for bad behavior at school. An upset student may fight with classmates, behave rudely or skip classes. A dip in academic performance is more subtle but just as damaging.


Negative emotions distract a student from his or her schoolwork. A dedicated student can eventually work past these distractions, though the temporary dive in his or her grades can have a long-term effect on lofty academic goals. One semester of bad grades may hurt the chances of getting into his or her preferred college. The consequences may be direr for a weak student who struggled to get passing grades before the divorce. The school can require a child to repeat a year if he or she has failing grades. Teenagers who are failing may drop out of high school because they are frustrated with the experience. This decision will limit their employment opportunities until they decide to complete their high school education as an adult.

How to Help

You can help your children with their academic problems by talking to their teachers and school counselors. What your children need most is your attention during your divorce, even if they are not asking for it. You should ask them about how they are feeling and how their schoolwork is going. They may give you evasive answers, but showing that you are concerned will encourage them to be honest with you. A Kane County divorce attorney at Geneva Family Lawyers can help you negotiate an allocation of parental responsibilities that allows you to remain active with your children. Schedule a free consultation by calling 331-588-6611.


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