When parents decide that the best option for their marriage is to get a divorce, that decision can affect the entire family. Children of all ages can struggle with divorce. The most important thing for parents who are divorcing to understand is how to best navigate their children’s emotions, and how to handle their children’s reactions throughout the divorce. It’s a transition and an adjustment for everyone.
The effects of divorce in children at different ages
The effects of divorce are broken down into groups from toddlers throughout adulthood. Understanding your child’s cognitive ability to understand your divorce, and put things in their perspective is a great tool for parents to utilities as families adjust to divorce.
Children under the age of three are still developing their cognitive abilities. They may not understand divorce but children at this age do understand a change in their routine. They may also not understand why one parent is not always present. Issues may include irritability, changes in sleep, and even developmental delays. Toddlers who experience divorce may have emotional issues later in life.
Children at this age typically blame themselves for you wanting to get a divorce. In this age group, children are egocentric and feel responsibility for the reason why their family is breaking up. Children will often try to act out and/or think “magically”- that doing certain things will help their parents will get back together. This thinking tends to lead to regressive or aggressive behaviors. For example, acting out in school or at home, losing interest in things they once loved, or school work may tend to suffer. Old school-age children may even act out against one parent by putting the blame on the other parent. Or children may choose to take sides.
Although divorce affects children of all of the different ages, it affects school-age children the most. Studies say the most crucial time for divorce is around the age of eleven.
If a parent is struggling with a school-aged child during divorce it may be best to reach out to a family therapist to help you navigate through these difficult situations. You can also reach out to your Texas divorce attorney as they may have additional resources that can help you.
The teenage years can already be a difficult and emotional time and divorce can add on an additional layer of emotion. Divorce for teenagers can lead to depression, especially if one parent begins to separate from the family. Or a parent may let their teenager down by not showing up for things. Or, if one parent decides to remarry. Teenagers can feel that family member pulling away, and may question if that parent still loves them. The most important thing to do is to have consistent open communication with your teenager and make a positive effort with them.
However, some teenagers respond well to divorce if communication is open and honest from the beginning. Although sad, they may even rally that divorce is the best thing for the family.
As we know, divorce affects children of all different ages. However, it can even affect adults. Young adults might question their whole childhood and wonder if much of it was a lie. They may wonder if their own marriages will have issues that result in divorce. Another tricky thing about having adult children is telling them too much about your marriage, which could lead to conflict with the other parent. You have to remember they are still your child and not your friend.
Consulting your Texas divorce attorney
Divorce is a difficult time for you and your entire family. It’s important that you have the support you need so that you can give your children the support they need. If you are in need of a well-trusted divorce attorney in the Brazos Valley in Texas, reach out and give our family law firm a call. We are here to support you throughout your divorce journey.