Divorce is one of the more traumatizing events that a child can go through, but it does not have to be all bad. In fact, studies have shown that it is often the contention and stress of divorce that causes problems for kids, not necessarily the divorce itself. What does that mean, though, when it comes to your child?
It means that you, the parent, may be able to mitigate against the potentially damaging effects of divorce. All you need is a little know-how, a lot of support, and a willingness to keep your child’s needs front and center throughout the divorce process. The following information provides details on the first element, and it explains where you can find assistance with the rest.
Infants and Divorce
Though babies do not typically understand what is happening to their family, or why, they are sensitive to the stress of divorce – especially if there is a lot of contention, arguing, or a significant change in their schedules. Symptoms of that stress can include everything from clinginess and emotional outbursts to regression and developmental delays. Parents can mitigate against it by maintaining a consistent schedule (or as close to normal as possible), and by ensuring that arguments are not taking place in front of or around the child. Parents are also encouraged to de-stress regularly to avoid stressing their child.
Toddlers and Divorce
Toddlers are typically most sensitive to the changes that occur during the process. Part of this is due to the strong bond that toddlers have with their parents; after all, at this stage, a parent is the most influential and important person in a child’s life. Like infants, toddlers may be prone to clinginess, emotional outbursts, regression, and developmental delays. However, they may experience a whole host of other issues, including separation anxiety, sleep disturbances, resistance to toilet training, and fear of abandonment. Parents can attempt to mitigate against it by, again, maintaining a consistent schedule. Adequate time with both parents can also be helpful, provided both parents are stable and safe.
School-Age Children and Divorce
By the time children surpass the toddler stage, they begin to grasp more of what is happening in the world around them. In fact, children as young as three may understand that their parents are separating, even if they do not fully understand the notion of divorce. In contrast, older school-aged children may fully understand what divorce means, and they may begin to self-blame, or they may fantasize about their parents getting back together.
For these ages, it is important that parents avoid negative talk about one another in front of the child; this includes arguments over the phone. Parents should also attempt to explain the divorce in a way that is appropriate for their child’s age, and they should be available to answer questions to the best of their ability. Reassurance that the divorce does not change the love you have for your child may also be crucial, especially if you have a child who is extremely sensitive or prone to self-blame.
Contact Our DuPage County Divorce Lawyers
When going through a divorce, parents should seek as much support as possible – not only with the emotional aspects (therapy, support groups, family, friends, etc.) but also with the legal ones. Doing so can ensure a child’s best interests are protected, and it can reduce stress for the divorcing parents. If you are filing for divorce, contact Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices. We have over 200 years of combined experience, and we will pursue the most favorable outcome in your divorce. Schedule a free consultation with our DuPage County divorce lawyers to learn more. Call 630-932-9100 today.
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