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How Can Divorce Affect Children at Different Ages?

Kelly Caperton Fischer | February 23, 2022

Understanding How Divorce Affects Children of Different Ages

It is important for parents to understand how divorce affects children of different ages, because a divorce can have long-lasting effects on children, and can even impact their future relationships.

Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Aged Children

Frequent consistent contact is what’s most important contact with both parents is what is most important if you have routines prior to separation in your household, such as bedtime routines, bedtime routines, meal times, talk to your spouse, or soon to be ex spouse about continuing those in both households as that can provide a lot of consistency for your child aim for a schedule that provides frequent contact for both parents and avoids long periods of separation.

Elementary School-Aged to Tweens

With either parent for the age of elementary school-aged into the tween years, this age can be very difficult, because children are really starting to understand more. And a lot of times they internalize it and think it is their fault. It should be reiterated to this age group that they are loved it is not their fault. And you and your spouse modeling respectful and appropriate behavior in front of your children will go a long way in making the transition easier.

Teens to College-Aged

The typical issues parents have at this age are issues and concerns parents have our academic concerns and self-esteem issues. Although they’re nearing adulthood. They are not adults, and should still be shielded from the details of conflict about the divorce. They don’t need to know who’s at fault and try to shield them from that to the extent possible. Tell your children at this age that it’s okay to talk about their feelings and it is absolutely okay to ask for help when needed with grown children.

Adult Children

Just because adult children are grown does not automatically equip them to deal with their parents’ divorce. The most common issue between parents and adult children during the divorce process is oversharing and expecting them to pick sides. They again do not need to know the details of who did what they should be shielded from that you should share any negative comments try to reserve those conversations for your friends or your therapist instead of your adult children.

Top Piece of Advice

Patience and communication are invaluable when going through divorce. This means patience with your spouse, patience with your child, and most importantly, patience with yourself. Just as when you brought your first baby home from the hospital.

There is no guidebook or rulebook on how to deal with this and it is likely going to be trial and error and that is okay. What your children need varies at different times in their life. And similarly, what your children need from divorced parents are divorcing parents varies based on their age. Keep the lines of communication open regardless of the age of your children. Communication with your spouse provides continuity and shows your children that they are the priority and creates a united front love your child more than you hate your ex-spouse. Our goal at Goranson Bain Ausley is to help our clients make good decisions in minimizing the negative impact and long-term effects that the divorce might have on the children.

Learn More

Kelly Caperton Fischer excels at finding creative and respectful solutions to family law matters, including property and child-related issues. Kelly is a strong proponent of “collaborative law” as a critical foundation to help clients put settlement at the forefront, negotiate more openly, and truly focus on what is best for their family. Kelly was named a Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star from 2009 – 2012, 2018, and 2019.

For more information about how to minimize the impact of divorce on children, please contact Kelly Caperton Fisher at 512-454-8791 or a Goranson Bain Ausley family law attorney.

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