How Does Divorce Affect a Young Child?
Will Divorce Affect a Young Child?
No matter a child’s age, divorce introduces a massive change into his or her life. Watching a loss of love between two parents, living in two different households, and feeling the daily absence of one parent is an incredibly challenging adjustment.
However, a child’s response to divorce is somewhat different depending on whether or not he or she is still in childhood or has entered adolescence.
Dependent Child vs. Independent Child
Someone is considered a child up through the age of about eight or nine. Between the ages of nine and 13, he or she is considered an adolescent.
A child’s world is dependent, as he or she is closely connected to the parents and heavily reliant on their care.
An adolescent lives in a more independent world, more separated from his or her parents. In general, divorce tends to elicit a regressive response in children and a more aggressive response in adolescents.
Regressive Child vs. Aggressive Child
To a young child, divorce shakes the dependency that he or she has come to rely on. He or she becomes regressive while adjusting to the instability and insecurity of transitioning between households.
In the short-term, a dependent child’s reaction to divorce is anxious, as his or her life becomes unpredictable.
An independent-minded adolescent, on the other hand, will react more aggressively to divorce. He or she may become more likely to disregard discipline and act rebelliously.
If a parent divorces with a child, he or she should focus on establishing a sense of family order and predictability.
This means establishing routines and allowing the child to create household rituals.
Divorcing with an adolescent requires the parent to insist on increased responsibility, encouraging the adolescent’s existing dedication to his or her self-interest.
During your divorce proceeding, you have to remember that children aren’t your property.
An experienced Arizona divorce attorney can help you resolve your property and debt issues independently of your child custody and support issues.