Divorce and Families pt 2 of 4: How do Elementary Age Children React to Divorce?

RenUnity_chopra_topDivorce and Families pt 2 of 4:  How do Elementary PrintAge Children React to Divorce?

(Guest Series Part 1 of 4, Lisa Schmidt, Schmidt Law Services, March 25, 2015)


Divorce can be hard on children at any age. But for elementary age children, the process can cause developmental delays and significant emotional distress. This second in a four part series will tell you the signs to watch for and how to minimize the harm.

Elementary age children, ages 3-10, have a better understanding of divorce than toddlers and infants. At this stage they begin to develop the ability to think abstractly and will likely understand that their parents will no longer live chazzano game adtogether or love one another. But they may not be old enough to understand why.

Safety and Emotional Security

In early elementary school, kids begin to assert their emotional independence from their parents. But they will also be very aware of mom’s and dad’s emotional troubles. If parents do not maintain their emotional stability, the child will become stressed and will often try to help the parents to feel loved and needed. That is why parents going through divorce need to see to their own mental health, by seeing counselors or psychologists and managing their stress. They should also reassure the child that they will be okay.


Elementary age children have wonderful imaginations. But when they find themselves in the midst of the confusing upheaval of divorce, those imaginations may run away with them. They may develop frightening fantasies, like being abandoned by their other parent, or unrealistic expectations that their parents will get back together. They may also Judy_Palmer30yearsbelieve that it is “because of them.” Explain the divorce to your child in concrete terms: “Mommy and Daddy are going to live apart from now on” and reassure them, many times if necessary, that this is not their fault.

Signs of Stress

Because elementary age children are old enough to understand what is going on, they are also old enough to worry about it. A dramatic shift at home, like when one parent moves out, will threaten their exploration of their new world of school and friends. This stress may manifest in sadness or depression. Physical and developmental symptoms may also emerge, like bed-wetting, thumb-sucking, or educational failures. Children this age may need to see their own counselor, an adult they can talk to that is outside of the divorce conflict who can help them understand what is going seed017_darlene_bignottion. This is particularly true where there are developmental delays. It is also very important that their normal activities stay the same as much as possible.

Elementary age children take divorce rough because they are old enough to understand what is going on, but not why. Take proactive steps to minimize conflict and protect your children by hiring a family lawyer with their best interests at heart. Lisa J. Schmidt of Schmidt Law Services represents parents and children and will work with you to make the transition easy on your kids. If you are considering a divorce, contact Schmidt Law Services today for a free consultation


Lisa J. Schmidt is a family lawyer for Schmidt Law Services, PLLC in Ferndale, Michigan. She emphasizes client engagement and gives each case her individualized attention. If you would like a free initial consultation, contact Schmidt Law Services today.  This blog is reprinted with permission from schmidtlawservices.com/20How Do Elementary Age Children React to Divorce?14/12/04/how-do-elementary-age-children-react-to-divorce/.


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