Some children rejoice when they find out you plan to call it quits on the marriage. This is likely in cases where the children suffered abuse at the hands of the other parent or where constant arguing disrupted family life.
Other children might not feel as happy about the transition, sometimes even in domestic violence cases. As a parent, you might find that each of your children reacts differently to divorce. They might even have differing opinions about who they want to live with.
According to an American Academy of Pediatrics study, even infants can sense a change and become more irritable. Toddlers are more aware of the absence of one parent and might experience separation anxiety.
Pre-school children might not understand that the situation is not temporary and might continue to ask about the other parent no matter how many times you explain. Children old enough to start school might not ask as many questions but sometimes have difficulty transitioning and accepting the change.
Teenagers tend to handle the situation with greater maturity, but not always. Sometimes being older and more aware might lead to a greater capacity for poor behavioral responses, such as acting out.
Teens also seemed more likely to experiment with drugs and inappropriate sexual behavior. The study also found that teenagers separated from their mothers and/or living with their fathers had a higher likelihood of attempting or committing suicide than children living with divorced mothers.
If you are older, you might feel surprised to find that even your adult children might feel affected by your divorce. Your children might have come to idealize your marriage and cannot wrap their minds around the divorce. Whatever the outcome and reactions, parents and children can work together to strengthen old bonds and create new family structures that work well.