Divorce is difficult for everyone. Divorce isn’t something you generally expect or plan for, whether you’re 32 years old or just 2, whether you’re one-half of a previously happily married couple or the product of that happy marriage. Despite this, hundreds of thousands of couples in the United States divorce each year.
And if you have children, their safety is certainly one of your top priorities. Is there a certain age when children are most traumatized by divorce? Should you strive to make it work “for the kids” until they’re old enough to comprehend it?
The worst age for divorce for children is before they reach maturity. However, sometimes relationships become so shattered that there is no choice except to end them, kid or not. This scenario will definitely have an impact on the child, but the number of children’s reactions to divorce varies greatly depending on their age. Experts agree, however, that the worst age for divorce for children is when they are in elementary school.
Worst Age for Children for Divorce
Divorce has an impact on children of all ages, to put it succinctly. Your children may be attending different types of schools according to their ages, but it’s arguably the most difficult for elementary-aged children. However, if you and your partner have decided that it isn’t going to work out, it may be wise to split ways, knowing that children are resilient and that there are techniques you can take to manage the (difficult) emotions that come with them.
Children Aged Under 3
Your 3-year-old may recall their parents arguing when they were two. It’s possible that recalling such events will make them upset. However, kids may have no recall of these battles by the time they’re a bit older.
Does this imply that divorce has no impact on children under the age of two? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Trauma that occurs before we reach preschool age might leave a lasting impression. Babies and toddlers who have spent months or years with two loving and attentive parents may react in a variety of ways when their parents split.
However, there are certain things you can do to help your infant or toddler cope with the consequences.
For example, you should establish and stick to a routine as much as possible. It’s generally known that children this age thrive on regularity, so if your child stays with Parent 1 and sees Parent 2 every weekend, try to maintain that schedule as much as possible.
If you had particular routines before the divorce, discuss continuing them in both houses with your partner (if possible).
When a parent divorces, it is not uncommon for the child’s life to become tumultuous or for one parent to basically disappear from the child’s life. However, remember that providing your kid with a loving, secure, and supportive environment in which he or she is introduced to new people and circumstances in emotionally safe ways can go a long way. It isn’t the worst age for children for divorce, rather a tough yet adaptable one.
Preschoolers have no concept of divorce and do not desire their parents to split, regardless of how harsh their home situation is. Divorce, in particular, is a difficult idea for these young “control freaks” to grasp since they believe they have no authority over the result.
Preschoolers, like toddlers, feel they are ultimately to blame for their parents’ divorce. They may have apprehensions about the future, suppress their anger, have unpleasant thoughts or ideas, or be haunted by nightmares.
These emotions might cause your child to become depressed, either temporarily or permanently. And what happens during these years can have an impact on one’s mental well-being in the future. Your youngster may become withdrawn, uncommunicative, and nervous as a result of this experience. Thus it is the worst age for divorce for children.
Alternatively, they might become enraged and strike out at you or their other parent, or they could play one of you off the other. Your child’s instructors may make observations regarding his or her interactions with peers or adults.
So, what’s the solution? You and your soon-to-be-ex must maintain a friendly demeanor in front of your elementary-school-aged child, just as it is with smaller children. Minimize tension by working out the specifics of your divorce or separation behind closed doors or with the assistance of a mediator or divorce counselor.
Of course, the ideal situation is for both parents to remain active participants in their children’s lives as loving supports. However, this isn’t always practical or recommended. If you’re dealing with domestic violence or abuse, the absence of one parent may be the greatest thing for your child.
Your children are far more likely to comprehend the underlying sentiments that lead to divorce or separation by the time they are adolescents.
In fact, if things at home are tumultuous, they may regard the ultimate separation as a relief and a feeling of closure. They’re also less likely to believe they’re to blame for the divorce or that staying together at all costs is the best option.
Teenagers are frequently self-centered, but unlike primary school children, their world revolves more often around their activities outside the house. As a result, they are less concerned with their parents’ affection for them and more concerned with getting on with their lives.
They may be concerned about how the divorce will affect their social status (for example, if they will have to relocate away from their friends), and they may romanticize the past. They can, however, see divorce as having the ability to improve things.
Acceptance is easier to get by in general. But keep in mind that your adolescent — especially a younger adolescent — is still a child with immature thinking. Make sure you have the resources in place to assist them in adjusting to their new situation. You might wish to inform their professors about the change.
Talk openly with your adolescent about their feelings and opinions and listen. Inquire if they’d want to speak with a counselor.
Divorce is difficult for anybody at any age, and it may have long-term consequences for your children — and you. So while you are wondering what is the worst age for divorce for children, ask yourself that are you well equipped to handle the consequences? You must also consider the facts of who will get and how to get the custody of a child too.
Don’t forget that your children rely on you, therefore you must look after yourself too. Consult a therapist who has dealt with divorce before, rely on friends and family, and participate in online or in-person support groups. Self-care is very crucial.