How children live a divorce according to their age
Separation from parents is an important emotional impact on children. Although not all separations are the same nor all children react the same, it is a difficult situation for them to handle. It supposes for the children the rupture of the family union, and a new scenario in which to develop. How p
Separation from parents is an important emotional impact on children. Although not all separations are the same nor all children react the same, it is a difficult situation for them to handle. It supposes for the children the rupture of the family union, and a new scenario in which to develop.
How parents handle this situation and the changes it entails, will be fundamental to preserve psychological and emotional well-being in children. In Guiainfantil.com we explain how children live a divorce according to their age and how we can help them to assume it.
How to help children in a divorce according to their age
The reactions and feelings of children before a divorce will depend on many factors: age they have at the time of separation, explanations received, continuity of the relationship with both parents, agreements or disagreements between the parents, degree of hostility between them, intervention of other adults, etc ...
According to the age of the children at the time of the separation of the parents, the reactions can be diverse and the explanations that we give them of the situation they will also be different, since according to the age they experience it of different way. But what has to be clear is that you always have to give an explanation, leaving out the differences between the parents, making it clear that the decision is of the two parents, giving them only the information they can understand, solving their doubts and explaining how it will be the situation from that moment.
Although not all children are affected equally or all react in the same way, and separation is not synonymous with trauma, some features (indicative) of how children live according to their age are:
- Children under five years:
When the children are less than five years old, we must explain simple, short, concrete, and clear explanations. At this age young children may feel that they are the ones responsible for the parents separating, because they have behaved badly or done something wrong and they usually fantasize that mom and dad will be together again. Sometimes, at first, having two houses, two rooms, can be fun, but they are not fully aware that it is a definite fact, and that the parents will not be together anymore.
They can have regressions, (behaviors typical of previous stages that were overcome such as peeing in bed, talking like a baby ...), sleep problems, being more irritable and more sensitive, (they get mad for no reason, they cry, they break toys ... ), they develop fears that they did not have before and they are not evolutionary, etc ...
Young children find it difficult to verbalize what they feel so it is important for parents to give them support and love, we listen to them and tell them that we understand how They feel, and we allow them to express their emotions and feelings.
- Children between five and eight years old:
Between five and eight years old children need to know more and it is convenient to explain the changes that will take place and how it will affect them in their day to day life, (who stays and who leaves, when they see to dad or mom, where will live the parent who leaves the address, etc ...). At this age they can continue to blame themselves for the separation and have fantasies about a future family reunification, in addition loyalty problems can appear, (they think that if they talk to one parent about what they do with the other, they can get angry or they can increase the conflicts between them.)
They can develop feelings of abandonment, fear and anxiety, worry about the parent who leaves, (what will he eat, who will help him at home ?, will he feel very lonely? ...), too There may be regressions, changes in behavior, they get angry with their parents or blame them for their problems.
- Between nine and twelve years old:
It may be the most difficult age in a separation. They understand perfectly what divorce is. At these ages, it is a situation that hurts them and they do not know how to manage their pain, they feel it is a fact beyond their control, they understand that it is a problem of their parents and they do not usually blame themselves, but at the same time they worry for them, especially if you notice them sad.
They often feel "older" and can take sides with one of the parents, in terms of "innocent guilty". Sometimes they can try to reconcile the father and the mother.
Sometimes, because they do not worry their parents, they do not express their feelings and emotions, and they pretend that everything is fine with them.
Adolescence, as a stage of searching for identity, can lead to contradictory behaviors in the face of separation, from behaving as responsible adults, and not wanting to take part and show understanding, to deny the problem, get angry or have behaviors of disagreement with the decision taken, or discussions.
It generates insecurity in them, and they can put to the test the limits that the parents put, they can try to manipulate the parents, have risk behaviors, and they can have economic concerns.
At a general level, in all ages, this situation can affect the academic performance of children, their self-esteem and self-concept, emotional and behavioral problems, irrational fears or anxiety, which not all children have same shape and with the same intensity. They do not always appear immediately after the divorce, they can happen after a while and we always have to pay attention to any change that is striking and if it is necessary to go to a professional.