In the past, we’ve written about how child development is affected when Texas couples divorce. A study, which included 8,000 people, found that divorce can have a substantial impact on a child’s ability to form relationships later in life. But, how does divorce affect children during childhood? And what can parents do to minimize the impact?
Research Shows the Biggest Impact Is in the First Few Years
While some children may feel a lifelong impact from their parents’ divorce, research shows that most children feel the biggest impact in the first year or two after a divorce. A study published in the journal Family Law Quarterly concluded that children commonly feel stress, anxiety, anger and other strong feelings immediately after the divorce. But, most of the time, they are naturally resilient and bounce back quickly.
Effects of Divorce Are Different at Different Ages and Stages
Not all divorces affect children in the same ways. All families are different, but children can be impacted differently depending on their developmental stages. For example:
- Very young children may struggle to understand why the divorce is happening or why their home lives are different.
- School-age children may blame themselves for the divorce or spend time wondering if things could be their fault.
- Tweens and teens may become angry, blaming one parent or resenting necessary lifestyle changes. Research has also associated divorce and adolescent adjustment problems, like getting bad grades in school or disruptive behaviors.
The way you address these impacts also depends on your child’s developmental stage. No matter what, it’s important to pay attention to how your child is affected and to take steps to work through matters with them. If you are looking for warning signs—like anxiety or anger—you’ll be better prepared to help minimize the impact of your divorce on your children.
How to Minimize the Impact of a Divorce on Your Children
There are many ways to minimize the impact of a divorce on your children. One of the most important is to avoid putting your child in the middle of family conflict. That means not talking badly about your ex to your children, not forcing children to choose between parents, and avoiding oversharing of sensitive or emotional information.
You can also try to help keep as many routines as possible in place. Continue attending events you always attended with your children and stick to family routines. Of course, things will be different, but comfort and consistency can help support your child through the challenging first year after a divorce.
Divorcing With Kids? Contact an Attorney.
If you need legal help protecting the best interests of your children during your Texas divorce, call the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125. Our Texas divorce lawyers are here to support you and your family.