Divorce is a terrible tragedy for children of any age to face. No matter what the
reason for the divorce, even if it's an abusive situation, there will be great losses suffered.
This is very evident in our society. There are hundreds and hundreds of books written on
the subject. Most all have the same underlying message: Helping children to cope with
the pain. What may seem like a harmless resolution to a problematic marriage, can and
will change the life of a child forever. Different age groups will face different problems
and emotions. We will be looking at the affects on infants and toddlers, preschoolers,
school- aged children, adolescents and adults.
Infants and Toddlers
Infants and toddlers can not put what they are feeling into words. They do,
however, recognize that something is not right. Parents may often feel angry or stressed
with the spouse, not even realizing it has an impact on their young children. As a result,
infants may cry a lot or it may affect their sleep patterns. They are frightened of the
uncertainty going on around them. Toddlers may express it more by throwing more
temper tantrums than usual or by being aggressive towards other children. They will have
mood swings and may regress in some areas. Both infants and toddlers need the security
of a routine. They feel safe in knowing what is coming next. It is very important that
parents realize this and try to keep some sense of normalcy during this stressful crisis.
Otherwise, it can lead to attachment problems later in life.
Outcomes of Divorce 3
Preschoolers can minimally verbalize some of the conflict they are feeling. This is
the age group that often blames themselves for what is happening. One author attributes
this blame based upon Freud's theory of the Oedipus Complex. (Lansky, p. 35)
Basically, children this age...