Preschoolers tend to be "emotionally needy," have fears related to abandonment, and may display acting-out behaviors following their parents' divorce or separation. Preschooler are likely to become very distressed during visit exchanges.
Although children between the ages of about 6 to 8 continue to have fantasies about reconciling their parents, they are less likely to blame themselves for the divorce. Children at this age have been found to experience intense grief over the loss of not having one of their parents living with them. The older child (ages 9 to 12) is better able to understand their parents' divorce. They are likely to consciously express their disapproval and tend to take the side of one of their parents. Anger at their parents is conscious.
Adolescents' ability to understand and conceptualize their parents divorce will enhance their adjustment. However, they are faced with the task of integrating the divorce experience with their own developing identities.
Boys and girls tend to react differently to their parents' divorce. As a rule, girls tend to become anxious and withdrawn, while boys tend to become more aggressive and disobedient. Girls from divorced families may become sexually active earlier than girls from intact families. Interestingly, boys often adjust better when their mothers remarry, while girls have more difficulty.
I am amazed on a Christian website to see such hostile judgement. Mr. Steel, you say, “I can’t think of one example where one parent does not demean the other…” Out of the number of divorce cases in this country alone, how many have you seen that you claim such authority? You sound ridiculous to say such a thing especially to one such as me who after years of torment in an abusive marriage, followed by such excrutiating abuse during two years of divorce, to the point that two separate doctors told me independently that they thought my husband was intentionally trying to drive me to suicide, I sobbed in silence, never saying a word against their father to my children…never letting them see what he was doing to me. to the point, that they blamed me for the sudden poverty in which I found myself and my health destroyed. I still kept silent rather than blame their dad on whom they were so dependent. Now, nearly twenty years later, one child is a happy, woman with children of her own. The other has never found his way suffering the same abuse at his father’s hands that I did. By the way, had I not been severely abused in every way by my father as a very young child, I doubt I ever would have married a man like this. But, like my dad, he is a narcissistic sociopath, seemingly the nicest, most harmless and extremely successful guy in the world. Even my own family refused to believe me when I finally broke my silence to explain what was really going on behind closed doors. The point? Look to the millions of abused children who go unheard because our society will not acknowledge such horrific things happen, especially in such “nice” families and you will find abused spouses. Abuse perpetuates itself…espcially if its victim is afraid to leave, not supported in doing so and, then with a judge paid off by a wealthy husband finds herself unable to protect her children…struggles the rest of her life to undue the damage done to her children. When you, in your vast experience have studied all these cases, tell me then how you can pronouce judgement on what is a tragedy for all concerned. Before casting judgment and blame, look to the cause of so much of this pain…in MY experience, very few go into divorce without tremendous suffering before and forever after…and often desparate for their sanity and their lives in a world that refuses to see reality.
While the results from the marriage education programs are encouraging, they are not definitive. Most of the studies are small, several have serious flaws, and only a few have long-term follow-up data (and those that do seem to show decay in effectiveness over time). Moreover, only a handful of the studies collected information on child well-being. Most importantly, all of the programs studied served mostly white, middle-class families, not the low-income and diverse populations that would be included in a wider government initiative.