When parents decide to get a divorce, they likely realize that they aren’t the only ones impacted by the event. Their children, they know, will experience just as much upheaval to their lives. Even with that knowledge, they may have questions about just how much of an impact divorce may have on children.
Perhaps this describes you and your current situation. The process of divorce and trying to determine child custody in Michigan can be difficult even in the best of circumstances. What’s more, the impact on your children may differ depending on their ages due to varying points of development. Here is a basic overview of the potential effects of divorce on children of different ages and what you can do to help them through this event.
Different age groups have different needs
Divorce seems to have the greatest impact upon children of elementary school age. Children in this age category know what it’s like for their parents to be together, but they may not understand that the divorce has nothing to do with them. They may incorrectly believe that they caused the divorce, while younger children may not fully understand what is happening and why. That isn’t to say that children under the age of 5 aren’t affected by divorce, as they can still sense the upset and anger of their parents.
Teenagers may be better equipped to comprehend the reasons for divorce and realize that it isn’t their fault but still struggle with the event. Even if they support the divorce, as it often means an end to a great deal of tension in the household, they may worry about their own future, such as whether they will still be at the same school as their friends.
How to help kids cope with divorce
With most children, open communication is the key to getting them through the divorce. Obviously, very young children cannot talk with their parents, but all other children will likely have many questions. Answering those questions as openly and honestly as you can is ideal, though you may decide some information is better kept private for their sake as well as yours. For very young kids, following a routine as much as possible will help them cope, which may be good advice for children of other ages too.
You may want to involve professional assistance in dealing with divorce and child custody. A child therapist may be able to help them and you understand the new normal in your lives. There are many aspects of your divorce that may require the help of a professional so that all of you can achieve the best life post-divorce possible.