New Research Sheds Light on What Ages Divorce Is Less Harmful On Children
According to new research, although many parents decide to stay together and delay divorcing until their children are older because they think that is better for them, in fact, divorce is actually less harmful if it occurs earlier in childhood.
Of course, when it comes to how a family will react to divorce, experts have long held that that depends upon the family. Exactly how a child will react depends upon what is going on with the family, the child’s temperament, age, and the relationship between the parents. If there is exposure to chronic violence in the home, the consensus has been that parents should get divorced as soon as possible. The same also goes for repeated high conflict in the marriage. Still, for children who come from violent divorces, many experts will recommend that additional steps be taken, such as taking the child to therapy.
What the New Study Indicates
As the first major assessment done on the emotional impact of divorce on children, this latest study results specifically indicate that the greatest repercussions from divorce (i.e. behavioral and emotional problems in children) come in early adolescence; i.e., between the ages of seven and 14, especially in boys. Older children are not only more sensitive to relationship dynamics, but they are also more likely to be affected by other consequences of divorce, such as disruption to friendships and schooling. Conversely, for children between the ages of three and seven, the study found no differences whatsoever between children whose parents divorced and those who did not.
Interestingly, the study also showed that children from privileged backgrounds were just as likely to experience mental health problems as those who come from less advantaged backgrounds, and mothers were more likely to experience mental health issues if they separated when their children were older.
How Do I Approach My Children About The Divorce?
The experts recommend following these tips in helping you get through what can sometimes be a difficult conversation:
- Be honest, but do not provide them with the details on your split. Try to keep to how it will affect their lives—i.e. living arrangements, school, seeing the other parent, celebrations and holidays—and focus on their well-being;
- Choose your words and tone carefully, and make sure you stay on a unified message with your soon-to-be ex;
- Be open to any reaction they might have, which includes listening to their concerns and questions and answering them in a simple, calm manner; and
- Stay positive—avoid negativity.
Contact Our Florida Divorce Attorneys to Find Out More
Getting divorced when you have children is never easy; however, if studies have shown us anything, it’s that doing so sooner rather than later is best for both you and your kids. Still, it is a subjective, personal decision. Contact our Florida divorce attorneys at HD Law Partners today to find out how we can assist you through the process.