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Divorce can be hard for a child, but help is available

Parents in Virginia who are seeking a divorce may be very concerned about how the divorce will affect their children. While initially a divorce may be very hard for a child to adjust to, in the end parents can take steps to help their child heal from the divorce.

When a child is under age four, they may not have the ability to completely understand what divorce is. However, as they grow up, they may feel resentful that their parents are not married. When a child is between the ages of four to eight, they may fear that the custodial parent will abandon them. Divorce can, at least for a while, affect the child's ability to sleep well, do well in school and have good self-esteem. Children of these ages may also be afraid that their parents' divorce is their fault. They may think that by being "extra good" their parents will get back together.

When a child is between the age of nine to adolescence, they may think that the divorce is the fault of a specific parent, and will take sides. Sometimes these alignments go along lines of gender, for example, a boy deciding to reside with his father rather than his mother.

When a child is above the age of adolescence or is an adult when the parents divorce, they may believe that it will not affect their lives too much. However, inside they may wish that the divorce never happened. It is possible that they may become depressed. They may also do things that their parents did that lead to the divorce.

That being said, it is possible that after a period of time a child can get through their parents' divorce in an emotionally healthy way. For example, if a parent takes steps to correct the behaviors that lead to the divorce, then their child may be more apt to copy these positive transformations. Professionals, such as therapists, are also available to help children of any age heal from the divorce. Having the support of their parents, relatives and other loved ones can also help a child when parents divorce. Therefore, while a divorce may initially be very difficult for a child, in the end the negative effects of the divorce can be mitigated in a way that helps the child grow and thrive.

Source: agweek.com, "Divorce has varying impacts on children," Mike Rosmann, Jan. 30, 2018

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