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Are very young children affected by divorce?

If you and your spouse are deciding whether to divorce, there is probably one factor that is playing into your decision more than any other: your children and the potential effects of a divorce on them. Many Las Vegas parents are encouraged, however, by the common belief that very young children probably will not remember the details of a divorce, and will therefore most likely be less affected. But is this really the case?

According to a new family law study, that may not be completely true. In the study, university researchers examined the effects of the divorce on children of all ages to determine whether their parents’ split affected their behavior and caused any present or future challenges or issues.

Overall, the researchers found that children are the most affected by changes to their family structure in the first five years of their life, before they start elementary school and begin to know people outside of their family and home life. This means that a child whose parents divorce before their fifth birthday may experience greater interpersonal and behavioral challenges than kids who are older when their parents split.

Interestingly, the researchers also found that children who are quickly integrated into a new, blended family often have fewer behavioral challenges than those who remain in single-parent households for a significant period of time. Those new families appear to provide some form of protective benefits for children who are dealing with a divorce.

Of course, these findings do not mean that children who are under five when their parents divorce are doomed. It simply means that parents of young kids may want to seek professional help for their children as they adjust to the split and their new, post-divorce life.

Source: Huffington Post, “Too Young To Remember? Maybe Not,” Erin Mantz, Sept. 5, 2012

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