Divorce Attorney Tampa FL
One of the most difficult things to deal with for parents who are going through a divorce is the effect the divorce has on the couple’s children. Not only does each spouse have their own range of emotions they may be processing – sadness, anger, stress – but the children are likely also dealing with a myriad of emotions over their parents’ break up.
In order to get through the whole ordeal has emotionally healthy as possible, it is critical for parents to know how the divorce is affecting their child and how to communicate and really listen to what they are feeling. Many children blame themselves for the breakup and this can lead to all sorts of issues if these and other fears are not dealt with properly.
The best way to deal with a child is dependent on their age. The following is a helpful overview based on the experiences a Tampa FL divorce attorney has seen, however, it can also be helpful to see a family therapist if the child is really having a difficult time coping.
Babies and Toddlers: Many children at this age usually do not have any memories of the divorce process when they are this young during their parent’s breakup. It is important that both parents continue to bond and comfort with the baby in order to make sure he or she has a solid relationship with both of them.
Preschoolers: A child this young is able to pick up on emotions and events that are taking place around them, so it is likely they will be aware that something is changing in their lives. Although they will not really understand what is going on around them, they are able to articulate some of what they are feeling.
Children between 6 to 8 years of age: At this age, children are able to explain how they are feeling and what things make them happy or sad. They are still too young to understand complicated matters, so details of why parents are divorcing should remain simple. Children at this age also began to develop relationships outside of the home, separate from their parents. These can include friends, parents of friends, teachers, and coaches.
Children between 9 to 11 years of age: At this age, children are able to process more complicated issues, including divorce. They have likely established strong relationships, separate from their parents, who they are able to share feelings with. Children at this age tend to process things in a “black/white” manner and may blame one parent for the divorce, siding with the other.
Children between 12 to 14 years of age: At this age, parents are able to have deeper discussions about the divorce because the child is old enough to understand and process complex issues. The child may blame one parent over the other for the breakup, depending on the circumstances of the divorce, as well as the relationships he or she has with each parent.
Children at this age are also developing their own independence from their parents and may insist on more of a say over which parent they spend time with and when.