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How to Help Your Child Through Divorce Depending on Their Age

 Posted on June 30,2020 in Divorce

How to Help Your Child Through Divorce Depending on Their AgeMarried couples who have children often take the longest to recognize that their relationship is no longer working and to end their marriage. Children can act as good distractions, allowing you to focus on parenting rather than being a husband or wife. Parents may also see how good their spouse is as a parent and use this as an excuse to stay married even when their romantic and emotional relationship is non-existent. Coming to the decision to divorce is never easy and the thought of telling your kids about the split can be enough to keep some parents in their marriage “for the children’s sake.” 

If you have decided that divorce is right for you, you may be wondering how to help your children through this time, especially if they are all different ages. Since children have different development levels depending on their age, it is important to have age-appropriate conversations with your kids when telling them about the divorce and during the months following the finalization of your divorce.

Ages 0-5

Children this young can have an easier transition period since they do not yet have a sense of “normalcy” in their lives. As they get older, they will likely not remember a time when you and your spouse were together and their “normal” will be two loving parents who are no longer married. For kids this age, it can be difficult for them to understand where their other parent is at the beginning stages of the split. They will likely ask you where their other parent is for weeks, if not months, on end. When telling them about the divorce, you should provide them with simple, concrete explanations about which parent is moving out, where the child will live, and when they will see their other parent. It may be confusing to them at first, but providing them with a consistent schedule and stable, nurturing care will help ease the transition.

Ages 6-11

The lower side of this age group is just beginning to be able to express their feelings and discuss their emotions, while children in the older half are fully capable of doing so but may not be willing to chat. Since kids of this age group are beginning to create relationships with others outside of your family, they will have others who they feel connected to and who they wish to spend time with. Their understanding of the situation will likely be black-and-white, and they may choose one side to blame for the divorce. It is important to avoid disrupting their time with their friends or taking away the structure of their everyday lives. Keeping consistent routines will help them adjust to this new lifestyle, and being open to discussing their feelings is important as they try to understand this new arrangement.

Ages 12-14

Teenagers can often have the most difficult time accepting the split and adjusting their lifestyle. Since they have vivid memories of you and your spouse together, it can be challenging for them to understand why you are no longer married. Children this age will often show signs of anger and irritability towards their parents, whether or not they are getting divorced, so adding this life change while they are going through puberty can only heighten these emotions. Teens will typically rely more heavily on their friends for comfort during these times as they become more independent. However, it is still important to foster open communication and a close relationship with your child because they are likely becoming distant in order to test your love for them.

Call a Joliet Family Lawyer for Help

It is impossible to know what is the best choice for your child, especially when making parenting plans with someone with whom you have a contentious relationship. Parental responsibility determinations can often bring up the most arguments between divorcing couples as each parent thinks they know what is best for their children. At The Foray Firm, we assist divorcing parents looking to maintain their relationship with their children while also moving on from their marriage. We understand how overwhelming divorce can be, and our mission is to help you with the legal process so that you can focus on your family during this tumultuous time. If you are a parent considering divorce, contact our Will County divorce attorneys at 312-702-1293 to schedule your consultation.



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