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Child custody needs depend on child’s age

One of the primary concerns of Maryland parents who go through divorces is the impact that the change will have on their children. Most will go to great lengths to ease the transition for their kids and will look for advice on how to help them adjust. According to many researchers, the manner in which parents approach divorce and child custody matters should be tailored toward the age group of the children involved.

Even very young children will be aware of the shift within the family structure. It is possible that children between the ages of 2 and 4 could feel abandoned when one parent is no longer present in the family home. Both parents should make an effort to establish and maintain structure in the life of a young child. Routines can provide young children with a great deal of security and can help them accept the changes in the family.

Children in their elementary school years tend to be very egocentric. This can lead them to believe that they played a part in their parents’ decision to divorce. It is important for both parents to understand that children at this age form their own identities by connecting their identities to those of their parents. Therefore, speaking ill of one’s ex-spouse can lead a child to feel as though he or she is also damaged in the eyes of a parent. For this age group, the best way to support children during and beyond a divorce is to create a sense of calm within the home.

For older kids, interaction with peers becomes the center of social life. Divorce can cause scheduling disruptions, which are often hard for teens to accept. Parents can support their older children by working to maintain consistency in their schedules, so that important school and extracurricular activities can still play an important role.

Divorce brings about many changes for all members of a family. For those in Maryland who are able and willing to put in the time and effort, the negative effects can be minimized. Understanding the ways that different age groups are affected by divorce can give parents the tools needed to structure a child custody solution that meets the needs of their shared children.

Source: westchestermagazine.com, “Divorce: What About The Kids?“, Linda Diproperzio, Accessed on Feb. 14, 2015

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