Elementary Age Children in Divorce

This page focuses on what elementary age children (ages 6-12) go through when their parents divorce. Check below for other pages about children here on Divorceinfo.com.

Identity Confusion. Elementary age children are more realistic than preschoolers about the reasons for their parents’ divorce and the likelihood that they will reunite. They are likely to experience confusion about themselves, because in most cases they have not yet learned to view themselves as distinct from their parents. If Mommy or Daddy is leaving, it’s very much as if a crucial part of themselves has been amputated without explanation and without a visible scar.

Fears. Elementary age children are likely to be fearful about the future. They are more prone to depression than children at other ages. They are likely to experience sadness or anger, and they are more likely to be ashamed that their parents are going through divorce.

School. This is a period during which children are developing basic proficiencies on which they will call for the rest of their lives, skills like learning to spell, learning to multiply and divide, and learning how to read for comprehension. As for all children, there’s a risk that grades will drop during divorce.

Boys. Elementary age boys, particularly at ages 9-12, are particularly vulnerable during their parents’ divorce, and particularly unable to express the turmoil they’re experiencing. As a result, they’re more likely than most children to “act out” their feelings of anger and anxiety by getting in fights, ignoring personal hygiene, ignoring schoolwork, and engaging in other rebellious behaviors.

Anger with Parents. Elementary age children, perhaps because of the feelings of shame and embarrassment they experience, are likely to be angry or frustrated, sometimes indignant, with their parents about the divorce. They are more likely to demand an explanation for the divorce, and they are more likely to want to want to know whose “fault” it is.

Here are some other pages about children here on Divorceinfo.com:

Helping Your Children Through Divorce Preschoolers – What to Expect
Children and Divorce – What to Expect Elementary Age Children – What to Expect
Child Support Adolescents – What to Expect
Collecting Child Support Adult Children
Your Parenting Plan Depression in Children
Parenting Issues Custody Questions
Tough Words About Kids Parental Alienation Syndromex

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