Divorce and Small Children

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Every marriage takes place on the basis of trust and love between two individuals. However, after some time people may find their marriage no more working and sustainable for longer time. The spouses start showing their lesser interest towards each other due to occurrence of higher number of conflicts between both the spouses. At the same time, spouses generally do not understand that their mutual separation can severely affect the other family members as well, especially small children. A separation between parents can greatly affect the emotional state of the child. However, different range of effects can be seen among different age group of children. Here we are mainly emphasizing on effects of divorce on small children and providing some essential tips on how you should tackle and present yourself before your small children during the time when divorce is taken place.

Divorce and Small Children: The effects on different age groups Infants


Small children who belong to the age group 0 to 18 months are termed as Infants. It is not possible to explain the effect of divorce to infants. The parents should focus on the following issues.

  • Maintaining proper eating habits of the infant
  • Whether the infant has enough bonding with the parent(s)?
  • Whether the infant is having a normal routine?
  • Infant should be exposed to other family members as well

Toddlers cannot grasp the concept of divorce. The parent(s) might observe the following regarding the toddlers.

  • Desire for more attention:This is a particular time during which child should be given quality time from both the parents. The general things are only learned during this phase of life, right from walking, eating habits and likewise. Therefore, parents should take care of spending quality and maximum time with their children.
  • Sleeping problems: Children may develop a severe sleeping disorders if proper care is not taken by the parents. Therefore, parent(s) should provide the toddler with routine and frequent quality time with sufficient patience.

Preschool children

Preschool children can understand the meaning of divorce. The parent with whom the child resides must take care of following responsibilities:

  • Assure the child that you would continue to provide, care and love to him / her
  • Try to remove your child's doubt or fear regarding uncertainty of the future
  • Ensure that the child visits the non custodial parent as per the visitation schedule decided after final approval of the court
  • Inspire the child to speak about his / her feelings

General Tips regarding Divorce and Small Children

  • It is essential that the children should be aware that their parents are about to divorce. So, it is convenient that child should be informed by the parent who has done a larger share of the parenting
  • One parent should never blame the other parent for the divorce in front of the child. If such a talk happens, the child may develop a wrong intention against specific parent and it may cause disturbance in his or her own life. Such an occurrence is very unhealthy for the child and may result in future problems.
  • Each parent must tell the small child that it is not the error of the child that the divorce is taking place
  • Every parent must dedicate the required time to answer any questions or queries of the child pertaining to the divorce. In this way, each parent must ascertain that the child has understood what is taking place and what would be its effect on him / her (i.e. the child)

The manner of conversing with small children about divorce

  • The primary concern is that both the parents should decide in advance about details of their divorce process. For this, the parents must discuss with one another what should be told to the children and what should be kept secret. When both the parents give same information to the child, the child feels secure.
  • The parents should try to be honest with each and every detail provided from their side. If possible they should avoid to mention those facts which are not easy for children to accept
  • The conversation of either or both parents with the children must always have the following gist
    • Both the parents love the child very much
    • Both the parents should try to present the valid and genuine reason behind their difficulty to continue their marital relationship
    • Each parent should be allowed to spend some quality time with the child at frequent manner
    When the parents include the above mentioned points while conversing with small children, children may find themselves quite comfortable to accept the permanent separation between their parents.

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