Divorce is stressful for both parents and their children. Divorce is more common, less different and less stigmatized than before. Many children find it difficult to adjust to the loss of a vital relationship, parental conflict or remarriage of their parent. Later on in life children may be seriously affected by divorce, but divorce also increases the risk that a child will have behavioral issues or problems while the divorce is being dealt with legally. Infants and toddlers have little to no comprehension of divorce so there is little to no reaction. Preschoolers fear abandonment when their mother and father no longer live together. Children in this age group often play their parents against each other and behave differently when alone with each. Children going through the trauma of a family breaking apart are not abnormal or disturbed, they are just responding to their age and to some maturity at the time of the divorce.
A literature review of five relevant articles published from 1985-2011 show almost the same outcome in all, namely that the behaviors of children are not necessarily the result of divorce. Statistics show that most behaviors were present prior to the divorce. In the article from the "Journal of Divorce and Remarriage," Michelle Moon states, "Much of the divorce literature indicates that children from intact, never divorced families exhibit fewer behavioral problems and evidence greater psychological adjustment than children from divorced or remarried families" (Moon 2011). In a recent response to a blog, Carl Pickardt, Ph.D. in psychology, stated that "for young children, divorce shakes trust in dependency on parents who now behave in an extremely undependable way" (Pickardt 2011). Pickardt believes in observing the three "R's," routines, rituals and reassurance. Yet in another article it was found that children who come from divorced families were more likely to have aggressive behaviors, be impulsive, be antisocial and have difficulties relating to their parents.