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How divorce affects children and how parents can help

On Behalf of | May 17, 2022 | Child Custody

Your divorce affects everyone in your family, including your children. You may wonder if there is a time in your children’s lives when the divorce will have the least effect on them so you can time your filing to coincide with this stage of life.

Unfortunately, there is not really a stage at which your divorce will not have a negative effect on your children. However, what really does them long-term damage is ongoing conflict. If your divorce puts an end to that, it may be better to file sooner rather than later.

What effect does divorce have on children?

Your children’s reaction to your divorce can vary by age. According to Healthline, children often internalize feelings of responsibility for their parents’ divorce, urging them to go back to the way they were or trying to convince them to get back together through bargaining.

You may have heard that if parents divorce before the child turns three, it is better for the children because they will not have any memory of the divorce. It may be true that children will not carry long-term memories of the divorce into adulthood, but it is also true that the trauma of a major life event can affect them. They may feel less secure with the changes in their routine and regress to habits that used to give comfort but that they seemed to have grown out of.

What can parents do to help?

One of the most important things to do is to make it clear to your children that the divorce is not their fault. You should ask open-ended questions about their feelings and encourage them to share. You should try to establish a new routine as soon as possible to give children a sense of stability in their lives.

Children are resilient, and many experience minimal long-term issues with their parents’ divorce. If you handle the news with honesty and sensitivity, the same is likely to be true in your case.