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Childhood divorces can have negative impacts: Be aware

When your children are very young, you may think it's the best time to get a divorce. Your kids won't remember as much, and it's less likely to affect their schooling or activities.

The trouble is that if parents believe their children won't remember the divorce, that's not necessarily true. If you ignore the fact that your child is suffering or upset, it can have an affect on him or her in the future.

The way a child grows up and functions is partially determined by his or her surroundings. If the formative years involve screaming, fighting and trauma, the child may develop ways to handle that. Some results could be aggressive tendencies, anxiety or depression. Some children may complain that they're in physical pain with no cause behind it. All of these symptoms stem from stress impacting the brain's development.

The long-term effects on a child's health as a result of traumatic stress are known. Household dysfunction does increase the risk of mental illness and substance abuse, among other issues.

How can you help your child?

Remember that your child needs to be loved, comforted and supported during the divorce, no matter what his or her age is. If your child is a toddler, consider allowing your child to sleep with you at night. This allows your child to feel more secure and less like he or she is being abandoned. Keep a regular schedule to reduce the impact of the divorce on your child. Most importantly, keep aggression and tension out of your home when possible.

Our website has more on divorce and domestic issues. Handling your divorce in as positive a manner as possible can help you protect your child.

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