Going through a divorce when you have kids is an emotional shake-up not only for the grown-ups, but especially for our little ones too. Each child reacts differently, and a lot of it comes down to how old they are when the divorce happens. Now, for the tiny tots, they probably won’t even remember a time when you and your ex were together. But the older kids, well, they’re likely to remember quite a bit, maybe even the exact moment they heard the news. It’s a big moment in their lives, and it’s super important that we, as parents, understand that.
Every kid is going to see the whole divorce thing in their own way. For the littlest ones, it might just be that Dad isn’t around in the house anymore. For others, it feels like their whole world has been turned on its head.
Even the youngest kiddos, who are too young to chat about it, are incredibly in tune with emotions. They pick up on everything – your stress, your sadness. This can really affect them. They might start clinging more, have a few more tantrums, or even have some changes in their sleeping and eating habits.
When kids are between three and five, they start to ask questions. They notice things like why one parent isn’t around as much. “Why doesn’t Daddy go to the park with us anymore?” or “Why does Mommy have a different house?” It’s good to be ready for those kinds of questions.
Kids in the six to eleven age range usually have met someone with divorced parents. They know what divorce means, but that doesn’t mean they’re totally cool with it. Be prepared for some hard questions and maybe a bit of anger. They’re dealing with a bunch of emotions and might not know how to handle them.
Teenagers, or those twelve and older, usually have a deeper understanding of what’s going on. They might even think it’s partly their fault or want to really understand the reasons behind the divorce. It’s not unusual for them to feel super mad at one parent or feel like they have to look after the other. It’s important to help them see both parents in a balanced way. Showing a united front when it comes to their care can really help.
Remember, kids shouldn’t be your sounding board for divorce issues. That’s what friends, family, or maybe a counselor are for.
Each age group reacts to divorce in its own unique way, and as parents, we need to be aware of that. The way we handle things with our kids during this time will have a lasting impact. So, let’s try our best to keep things friendly with the ex, especially in front of the kids. Believe me, they pick up on these things.
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