07 Jul To Divorce While Children Are Younger Or Older?
Is it smarter to divorce when your children are younger, or older? This is a difficult decision many couples must decide on when divorcing. Many parents to feel that waiting until kids are older to divorce will be less challenging for them. At the surface, it does makes sense. Younger children, even those in high school, might be more fragile to the separation of their parents than say, a young adult, who may simply be more matured. But it’s all very circumstantial. Especially when your child is in college, not living at home any longer.
When young adults go off to college, they’re entering a whole new world. They’re making new friends, getting used to a new environment, putting themselves out there, taking on whole new responsibilities, and getting used to life without both their parents around. This can create a sense of instability in their lives. But they may find relief in knowing that they can return home for holidays or even weekends. The familial situation they’re used to will be there for their comfort, even if their parents are not on the best of terms.
College can be overwhelming in and of itself for young adults. If they learn that their parents are divorcing, this can simply add to their stress. Additionally, just being in college may make them feel as if they’ve lost the parental figures that have guided them their entire lives. When you add divorce to that, they may anticipate that loss of parental guidance even stronger.
Younger children are vulnerable to the effects of divorce, but they do tend to bounce back quicker than young adults. Young adults tend to take on some of the responsibilities, becoming involved in care-taking for their own parents. Young adults already have enough responsibilities on their plate, and this need to take on responsibilities may add to that stress too.
This isn’t to say that younger children don’t feel the effects of divorce though. No matter what, every divorced parent is responsible for their child’s feelings. Every child deserves:
- The right to both love and be loved by both parents without feeling a sense of guilt or disapproval
- The right to feel protected from any of their parents’ animosity toward each other
- The right to be kept out of any conflict between their parents, ie. not feeling as if they must choose a side, carry messages, or hear complaints about one parent from the other
- The right to know about important changes with their parents, like whether or not a parent is planning to remarry
- The right to reasonable financial support during childhood and college years
- The right to be able to express their feelings to both parents knowing that they’re listening
- The right to have a life that is as close as possible to what life would be like if their parents had never divorced