The reaction of a child to divorce depends on their age & maturity
Children might not say much but you can be sure they will act out how they feel. Divorce is a stressful time for both parents and children. However, unlike adults children react differently whenever distressed. The reaction of children usually depends on their age, maturity and the degree of conflict that they see between their parents.
The younger the child, the most likely he will be clingy to his parents. Young children base their sense of security and safety on the constant presence of their parents. Whenever a parent moves out because of the divorce, his absence will surely be felt by a young child who might be inconsolable.
Experts recommend that for the sake of young children the parents must establish a routine for the child to be able to regularly spend time or communicate with the parent who moved out. The parent with whom the child lives with must never attempt to completely obliterate the other parent from their lives. Thus, it is encouraged to keep photos and mementos of the other parent for the child to see.
As children grow they become more vocal of their feelings and their behaviour may also become more erratic. Preschool to pre-adolescent aged children may talk about their feelings more as well as acting out.
Children may manifest behaviour which they think can get the attention of their parents. These children still fantasize and hope that their parents will get back together so they come up with ways to attract both of their parents’ attention.
Some children resort to becoming naughtier than normal. They may also exhibit signs of regression like deterioration in their speech or failure in schoolwork which naturally would be causes of concern for the parents.
Fortunately, children of these ages can already sufficiently understand if something is explained to them at their level of understanding. Parents must explain the situation carefully to their children. Questions must be answered honestly. It will help to constantly assure the child that the communication lines are always open between both parents and child.
When it comes to older children, adolescent and teen stage, parents must tread carefully. Children of these ages are already very independent. They like their space and sorting things out on their own. It would not do parents any good to constantly ask their teenaged child to talk about their feelings because instead they just might clam up all the more.
With adolescents or teenagers, parents must observe from a distance and allow their child to recover through his normal school or social activities. So, the trick is to be attentive but not suffocate the child with too much attention.
It is normal for children to feel a sense of loss with the divorce. They would feel that they are losing a parent, a home and a family. Parents must rise above their own pain to be able to help their children cope with the feeling of loss. With the support of their parents, children will recover in time from their wounds caused by the divorce.