Moving forward with a divorce is not always the most obvious or easiest decision to make. For instance, after careful deliberation, you might find that the most convincing reason to stay together is “for the sake of the kids.” Statistics have shown that in many cases, remaining married can do more harm than good, especially if you are in a loveless or volatile marriage. However, you and your spouse may not feel strongly enough about your marital problems to go through with a divorce right now. If that is the case, you might want to consider the timing of your divorce with respect to your children’s ages and their development.
Coping at Different Ages
The truth is, there is probably never a “good time” for your children to deal with divorce. Very few if any children come out of divorce entirely unscathed. It can take its toll, and depending on the children’s ages, among other things, it might be more damaging at certain stages of their lives. Here are some observations about how kids tend to cope with divorce at different ages:
Babies—While babies cannot comprehend divorce, they can sense when there is conflict in the home between their parents. This can lead to irritability, clinginess, and some delays in development.
Toddlers and Preschoolers—Children at this stage of development tend to believe they are the center of the universe. This could result in them thinking they caused the divorce. They might seek more attention or regress. Fear of abandonment and trouble sleeping are common.
Ages 6 to 8—Kids at this age still do not understand divorce and feel like their parents are deliberately leaving or abandoning them. They might think that they will never see one of their parents again. In the later years, as they approach the age of 12, part of them will sincerely believe that they can save the marriage.
Ages 9 to 12—By this age, children are much more conscious of the divorce and what might have led to it. They could end up siding with one parent. They often express anger more readily than kids at younger ages. In other cases, they might feel sad, worrisome, or withdrawn.
Teenagers—Independence is key to a teenager’s development. They will want to establish their own identity separate from their family. However, they tend to be very reflective about the divorce and will worry about some very adult concerns, such as finances, whether they can even have a successful romantic relationship of their own, and what will change in their lives due to the divorce. All of this, coupled with the usual rollercoaster of adolescence, can create an abundance of emotions that parents should be willing to acknowledge and accept.
This is not to suggest that every child at those particular ages will react the same way. The circumstances surrounding the divorce, the dynamics between their parents, the level of stability (or lack thereof) in their family lives, and even the children’s own personalities and life challenges could make the divorce harder or easier on them. The good news is most children are typically resilient and can “recover” from a divorce and adjust to it within a year or two.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Family Law Attorney
Divorce will likely affect your children somehow, no matter what age they are when it takes place. You just need to figure out when is the best time for you, your spouse, and your children depending on the status of the marriage and any circumstances the family faces. When you decide it is the right time for a divorce, consult with a DuPage County divorce lawyer. The compassionate team at Andrew Cores Family Law Group will take care of the legal proceedings so you can focus on adjusting to the upcoming changes in your family life. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.