Children of different ages will react to a parent’s divorce differently. Parents in Utah may worry about how their child will handle a divorce, and they may even try to “stay together for the kids” to keep the family unit intact, even at the expense of their own happiness. However, kids are resilient and may fare better when both parents are happy apart rather than unhappy together. Below is an outline of how to help your child with a divorce at any age.
Kids under age three
While children under age three may not exactly remember the circumstances surrounding their parents’ divorce, they may still react to it, and it can leave a mark. They can become fussy, clinging or miss milestones. Keeping a consistent routine between households can help post-divorce.
Kids ages three to five
As many parents already know, preschoolers ask a lot of questions. They are trying to understand the world around them. When parents of preschoolers divorce, their child may wrongly think the divorce was their fault and may have lasting memories of the split and feel confusing emotions. Like younger children, keeping a consistent routine helps provide stability post-divorce. Staying civil with your ex can also help.
Kids ages six to 12
Divorce can be tough on elementary age children, because they remember the good times along with the bad. They may feel like the divorce is more about them, rather than a situation going on between their parents. Children of this age can become depressed and anxious. Minimizing conflict with your ex can help post-divorce. Having your child attend therapy post-divorce can also help.
Once you child is a teenager, they generally understand the circumstances behind your divorce and may even find that divorce brings a sense of relief and resolution. Unlike younger children, they are not as apt to believe the divorce was their fault. They may worry about how their parents’ divorce will affect them socially but they also have the foresight to see that the split can make things better.
There is no perfect age for divorce
As this shows, there is no “perfect” age for children when it comes to divorce. Ultimately, children thrive when they have two happy, loving parents. If this means parents are happier divorcing, then “staying together for the kids” may do more harm than good. Parents in Utah considering a divorce may find consulting with a family law attorney helpful.