The Youngest Victims: Dealing With Divorce And Small Children

Divorce affects everyone, but the effects of divorce on the youngest children are often overlooked. Many couples just assume that children under the age of 5 are too young to understand what's happening, but divorce does affect this age group and they deserve some special attention during this stressful time. Children this young may have trouble communicating their discomfort or anxiety in words, but the signs are there. Read on to learn more about how to deal with the signs of divorce stress on younger children.

Resorting to fantasy coping behaviors.

Make-believe is a common form of play among young children, but children impacted by divorce may ramp up this way of coping with change up to a new level. You may notice a child who witnesses one parent packing up and moving out will cope with their stress by making up stories to deal with the situation. Often these fantasies involve mommy and daddy reuniting, with some children insisting that "daddy is coming home soon". Being honest with a young child about divorce is one of the toughest assignments, but you must make sure that the child understands what is happening. In the meantime, you can expect an increase in fantasy behaviors that allow them to cope, such as through make-believe, their art work, and story-telling.

Fear of abandonment.

In a young child's mind, parents could end up divorcing them. Children who fear being cast out of the family will show more clingy behavior, even in previously problem-free situations. For example, a child may suddenly begin refusing to be left at day care, in spite of them attending the same day care for some time. Making your child feel more secure can go a long way toward getting them over this temporary fear of abandonment. Both parents should make it a priority to spend more time with child, and to stay connected by phone on long days away from each other.

Regressing in age behaviors.

Another (hopefully) temporary divorce-related coping behavior has young children going backwards on the developmental track. You may notice a baby who has been sleeping through the night begin to awaken more frequently, toddlers who have been toilet trained begin needing diapers again, and kindergarten age kids expressing themselves with baby talk. When these behaviors are more than temporary, some consultations with a child therapist may be needed.

A less contentious divorce is possible if the parents are wiling to set aside their differences and work out an agreement that is fair and workable. Not only will it enhance your child's ability to cope with the divorce, but can also make it lot easier on both of you. Talk with your divorce attorney about making this process easier, quicker and less contentious. For more information, visit websites like

About Me

The Internet Makes Learning about Law Easier than Ever

Unlike many children growing up today, I am old enough to remember what life was like before the internet became popular! Many years ago, I ended up in a messy legal situation that stemmed from a simple misunderstanding. It turned out that I actually did not break the law, and finding that out in court was a great relief! While I had a great lawyer who helped me during that time, reading some legal information for myself about the laws surrounding my incident could have greatly eased my worries during the stressful time. I have since dedicated myself to learning more about the law, so I never have to deal with a legal mess again. I thought I would make a blog to share some legal knowledge I have acquired along with some general legal tips. I hope I can help many people!



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