3 Surprising Effects of Divorce on Children

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorneys in Orange County; California Divorce Mediators“Oh, the children are just too small to be affected by the divorce.” This is typically the response that parents have when asked about the coping ability of their children, to the decision of their parents getting an Orange County divorce. To most parents, children are affected but only at a certain age.

This, though, is the wrong assumption. Children of almost all ages are affected by the separation of their parents, with the impact in most cases, worsening, as they grow up. As an eye opener to most parents, here are 3 surprising effects of divorce on children.

1.     Children react to divorce according to their age

Here is a low down of how different children react to divorce differently according to their age and level of maturity.

Toddlers and infants

At this age, most children are unable to walk up straight or talk properly, let alone understand that they parents are ending their relation. An Orange County divorce will have minimal if any effect on such kids, as long as their parent’s don’t bring it up when they grow up.

3-to-5 year olds

Children at this age are possessive about what they have and what they want. If they have been seeing their parent’s together, a sudden change will affect their behavior. They may lose their sense of curiosity or cheerfulness as a result. The best thing to do is to insulate them from the process and the marital conflict that comes as a result.

Ages 6-12 

These children can be hard to handle, with most children reacting in expressions of anxiety, moodiness, aggression, restlessness, tantrums etc. Once again, they too, need to be insulated from the effects of divorce and then, parental bitterness. It is usually seen that boys find it harder to adjust than girls.

Ages 13 up to adulthood

An Orange County divorce can hit a teen the hardest. They can start to display anti social behavior, withdraw themselves from their family, refuse to talk to the parents and suffer from feelings of insecurity, loss and helplessness. While they will have to be told about the divorce, these teens should not be used by parents as weapons in a divorce.

2.     Children of intact and divorced families are similar

According to the latest bit of research, the difference between children from intact families and divorced families is similar. According to the US Bureau of Census, 1 million or more children witness the divorce of their parents. This highlights how the rise of mediated divorce has meant that more and more children are being saved from the toxic effects of divorce.

3.     The action of the parent dictates the reaction of the child

This is something that is understood, yet not properly followed. The single most important factor in your child coming to terms with the divorce is you. As long as you can ensure that the child has to face limited distress as a result of the divorce, is able to freely meet their other parent, they will not feel aggrieved at the loss of their parents’ marital relation.

Divorce mediation is a low conflict, cheaper way of ending a relationship and limiting the impact of divorce on children.  So if divorce is inevitable in your situation, contact California Divorce Mediators today.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”