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Study suggests children under age five most impacted by divorce

When a couple makes the decision to divorce, there are a number of factors that must be sorted out and taken into consideration. For couples with shared children, divorce brings with it many challenges. Not only must the parents deal with the emotional and financial fallout of the divorce, but both must also figure out how to talk about and explain issues related to the divorce with their children.

In the past 20 years, much has been written about the impact divorce has on children. Divorcing or divorced parents often pour over articles and books about how to help a child adjust to the many changes associated with divorce. While there are definitely ways parents can help a child cope with and better understand divorce, new research indicates that a child's age when the divorce occurs may be the biggest factor in whether or not the child will have difficulty forming their own close relationships in later years.

According to the study which will be published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, children who were very young when their parents divorced are more likely to experience issues with trust and closeness later in life. According to the research, children who were under the age of five are most impacted by divorce. Researchers believe that very young children are most impacted because they are still in the process of learning to trust and developing close bonds with both parents.

While this new research may be disheartening for some divorced parents, it should be noted that there are a number of ways parents can help a young child of divorce feel loved and secure. Both parents should make concerted efforts to spend quality time with the child. Fun activities like going to the park are important as are quiet times spent cuddling and reading.

Divorces are difficult for all involved parties. Parents should know, however, that the majority of children with divorced parents grow into happy and well-adjusted adults.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Children Of Divorce: Study Finds Younger Children Feel Lasting Effects of Divorce," July 1, 2013

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