Learning to cope with difficulties and disappointments in life is probably the most important childhood learning experience. Without these skills the quest for a happy and fulfilled adult life will be more difficult.
Children can experience the divorce of their parents at any age from toddler to middle age. The damage that this causes to the children will depend upon their age, the way the divorce process has been handled and the skills they already have to cope with life changing events such as divorce.
It's never too early to teach coping skills
Clearly the more children have been encouraged in developing coping skills in their early years the more they will be able to apply these techniques to dealing with the effects of the divorce and their life after divorce. These skills in dealing with the world can be learnt from a very early age. Parents should realise that the duty to teach their children healthy coping skills begins when they are still babies. How might this be done?
On the job training
Basically this is on the job training. In order to cope with difficulty children have to experience it and then deal with it. The best way not to learn how to deal with problems in life is to have them solved/removed by their parents. This is a perfectly understandably action for a parent to take but only in certain circumstances it is the best thing to do.
However, if children are brought up with their parents constantly shielding them from life's difficulties by dealing with them and making them go away then their children in later life will have no mechanisms for dealing them by themselves.
The consequences of always solving their problems
Failure to encourage children to find their own way through their difficulties sends out a very destructive message - "You cannot look after yourself and you will always need me to solve your problems." A worse message to give children would be hard to imagine.
Coping with divorce as a child is massively difficult
However, coping with parental divorce is unique in that the problem is external to a child's life. It's imposed upon them often without any warning and with far reaching consequences. Coping with this will depend upon so many things but good coping skills learned at an early stage in life will give a good foundation upon which to deal with the heartrending problems of an absent parent family or dealing with what they saw as a cornerstone of their life, their parents' marriage, being kicked away.
Everyone can survive divorce
Divorcing parents play a vital role in their children's ability to cope with the divorce. Handle things well and the resilience and self reliance of children will get them and you through.