Children are affected by what they see, what they experience and what they do. As children grow older, they begin to form opinions and develop a strong sense of personality. All this is shaped by their younger years, ie., their formative years. Young children are less worldly-wise compared to adults, and hence have a lesser understanding of how to react to situations. Some events during their childhood may leave lasting impacts on the kind of adults they turn out to be.
One of the major things that affects children is the relationship between the parents. Children of all ages are affected by divorce – the before, during and after phases. It would be a lot easier for them to handle and adjust if the kids know and understand exactly what is happening. If they manage to understand how to handle and get through such stressful situations in life, they would be better prepared to handle life.
How Divorce Impacts Toddlers (0-3 years)
Babies aged one to three years have very limited understanding ability. This leads to them being unable to comprehend divorce and being confused by it. They also don’t have the cognition ability to address the changes in their lives. This could result in them developing emotional problems in life later on. Some toddlers may even blame themselves for the split, as they have the tendency to personalize their world.
How Divorce Impacts School-Age Children (6-12 years)
For school-going kids, their parents undergoing a divorce may negatively impact their education. This is the age where their imagination skills are at their peak, so the kids may end up wishing for their parents to get back together. Being the self-centered age, kids may feel responsible for causing the divorce, as well as getting their parents back together.
Kids at this age also feel the sadness at the break up. As kids have no say in the divorce, they may feel totally out of control. This may in turn result in them being aggressive and angry. This anger will then be displayed in school and with their friends. Withdrawal, aggression, needy, and disobedient behavior can all be seen in the classroom. Some kids may even take sides and end up criticizing one parent in favour of the other.
Divorce is a phase where everyone feels vulnerable. It is challenging emotionally, mentally and psychologically. The most important things is to ensure that your children adjust successfully to the changes, and understand that they are still very much loved.