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Age and gender can influence a child’s reaction to divorce

Divorcing couples often worry about how their children will cope with a breakup. Along with issues defined by Louisiana state law such as child custody and child support, understanding a child’s emotional journey is critical to creating a new family makeup that is in the best interests of the child. Psychologists say that separation and divorce can have serious impacts on the well-being of children, so paying attention to their needs is critical for both parents.

The age and gender of children when their parents divorce can significantly impact their reaction. Children younger than age 4 may not have a full understanding of what is happening at the time, though they may feel the strain later if parents are not on the same page. Those between the ages of 4 to 8 may experience fear of abandonment from the custodial parent, which can affect their sleep habits, school performance and self-esteem.

Children over the age of 8 can have a variety of issues and are highly affected by the nature of the divorce and how each parent manages their emotions and lifestyle during this time. They may align themselves with one parent. Typically their loyalty will sit with the parent of the same gender, unless one is abusive or unavailable. Louisiana will address any abuse allegations in custody hearings.

Divorce can be a challenge for children and parents alike, so it is important to work to understand each person’s emotional state. Being aware of a child’s needs and working toward his or her best interests are important not only for the well-being of the child but also for a parent’s standing in child custody cases. Those facing challenges with child custody and support should contact a Louisiana lawyer for support.

Source:, “Divorce has varying impacts on children,” Mike Rosmann, Jan. 30, 2018

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