Divorce is going to impact your kids no matter how old they are when it happens. It changes their lives. Whether you have a newborn or a high school senior who is about to leave for college, they have to deal with these changes.
That said, experts have noted that it may be the hardest for your kids if they are toddlers, between 2 years old and 4 years old. That’s when you really have to think about how you can work to mitigate this impact.
For one thing, a child at this age does not have many relationships outside of the home. His or her life revolves around the parents. When this dynamic changes or one parent leaves the child’s life entirely, they feel that change.
On top of that, these young children value stability and routine. It makes them feel safe and secure. A divorce can upset that and make them question how they see the world. Even if they can’t put them into words, they have significant questions.
Confusion could play a role, as well. An older child may understand the nature of relationships or even the troubles that his or her parents are having. A toddler does not. The divorce is confusing, unpredictable and sudden. They don’t know what to make of it or how to proceed.
This doesn’t mean you have to stay together for the kids; if your spouse asked for the divorce, you may have no choice. It just means that you really do need to think about all of the legal steps you can take to put your kids first as you move through the legal split.