Going through a divorce is one of the most challenging life events that an adult can go through. As hard as this will be on you, it is essential to think about how your children will react to the news.
Divorce can hit them especially hard as their parents are about to split up. The normal household that they are used to is about to be turned upside down. Depending on their age, children will view and react to divorce a bit differently than you might expect.
Here are some general guidelines to help you prepare.
Infancy to 18 Months
You might think that your newborn child has no idea you are going through a divorce, but evidence indicates otherwise. Infants can feel the tension that is taking place in the household. At the same time, they have no idea what is causing it. As a result, they will become very emotional and are prone to outbursts of crying when you least expect it. They will also tend to become quite clingy and want to be held more often.
It is important to develop a consistent routine with your infant when going through a divorce. Work hard to keep their meals structured. Do not deviate from sleeping patterns and make sure that you spend the time with them that they need to feel comfortable. This is also a time when you will want to rely on family members and close friends to help take care of the child.
From 18 Months to 3 Years Old
A toddler develops a special bond with his or her parents. If they sense a disruption in the way things are at home, they will find it difficult to accept. They will also not be able to understand what is happening, but will often feel that they are the reason you are splitting up. You will find that they cry more often than before, and they may begin to suck their thumb. Also, falling asleep can become more difficult for them.
This is why parents should work together to develop a consistent routine for children in this age group. Talk about feelings with your toddler and let them express themselves openly. Reassure them that they are not the reason you are getting a divorce.
From 3 to 5 Years Old
At this age, children can still have difficulties understanding what divorce means for their family. They may not understand what a divorce is, but they know that they do not want their parents to split up. They are willing to live in a difficult home environment if it means keeping their parents together. Because that can't happen, they will feel powerless to do anything about it.
They will also feel that they are responsible for the divorce, so it is important to teach them otherwise. Preschoolers can begin to express their feelings in different ways. Let them do so and help them work their way through their emotions.
School-Aged Children Up To 11 Years Old
If life has been normal to this point, school-aged children may feel that they are about to be abandoned once you get divorced. It is important to discuss what life will be like after the separation and how the child will never be forgotten. Be prepared for children at this age to blame one parent for the separation. They will also tend to dream about parents getting back together. Parents can help the transition by spending quality time with their children on a regular basis.
As a parent, it is important to understand how your children are likely to react to your pending divorce. Depending on the situation, you may want to receive professional advice and counsel about how to help them through this transition. It should be viewed as a team effort. If you and your soon to be ex-spouse can find a way to work together on this, everyone will be better off for it in the end.
Our Firm is Here to Help You
The Law Office of Jonny Kousa, P.L., understands that going through a divorce is difficult. You will undoubtedly have many questions that you need to be answered. Whether you need more information about divorce or child custody in Florida, we are here to help you. Our Coconut Creek divorce lawyer understands nothing is more important than your loved ones.
Please feel free to contact us at (954) 626-8071 to get the assistance that you and your children need to get through this difficult period of life.