House Blogger Megan Thomas writes:
Is it true that it's less psychologically damaging for kids when the parents divorce when the kids are relatively young as opposed to in their teenage/early adulthood years? Or does this not have much bearing at all?
Tammy Gold responds:
I think that every situation is very different. The point about young children pertains to when they are very young, perhaps less than a year of age, and are not that aware of the familial environment. So if there is the juxtaposition of a child who is 3 months old compared to a child 10 years old, how they are affected will be very different because obviously the baby does not understand psychologically what is going on.
Older children have history and have built patterns, structures, and rituals with their parents which in turns shapes their personality. So for a child who has lived with his/her parents for a decade and built this history with them, their divorce would cause a great disruption to the child's world. This is because, for 10 years, this way of life is all the child has known.
Very young children and infants are less aware of things and therefore less traumatized during the big transition of divorce. However, once children are old enough to be aware of home and mom and dad living in the home they will be affected by the their parents separating and living apart. This is not to say, however, that divorce will not affect young babies. Babies — even babies in the womb — can react to parental stress levels. So while a young baby may not fully comprehend a divorce in relation to themselves or their life, they may feel the stress from their parents and react to that stress physically and emotionally.
Gentle Ways To Drop The Divorce Bomb On Your Child, by licensed psychotherapist, Tammy Gold
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