Is it better for parents to divorce when children are young or wait until the kids are older?


27071771 - studio shot of angry senior couple having an argument, isolated on white background marriage in crisis


There are no good or right times for parents to divorce. Research shows and my experience has been that the younger the child is the more times they will process the divorce.

In other words if their parents divorce when they are preschool or younger upon entering the public school arena they may question why other kids live with two parents but they only live with one parent. Some kids will breeze through this once it is explained while other children will struggle with this.

Every time they go through a new developmental level they will process the divorce.

Here are some examples of how children may re-process the divorce:

  • Entering school
  • When they enter tween years and when they develop concrete thinking skills
  • Upon entering teen years as they begin to think of the opposite sex
  • When they start dating
  • When they graduate from high school
  • When they marry
  • When they go to college and or establish a career
  • When they have children of their own

Basically the younger a child is the more times they will process the divorce.

The older child

The older a child is the more deeply they will grieve the loss of the once intact family. The older a child is the deeper the crack in their foundation.

If they are married and starting a family or have an established family when the parents divorce, they will wonder if everything they have believed about family and marriage was a lie. The foundation cracks deeply and they may wonder if it will hold up. After all, the parent’s foundation couldn’t sustain the weight of a family. Everything they believed about marriage and relationships is now distorted. They may wonder how they can survive their own marriage when everything they believed no longer holds true.

For children’s ministers it is so very important to understand your role with children regarding the divorce of their parents. They desperately need for someone to understand the family situation and to reach out and minister to them at whatever age or developmental level they are entering.


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