The Problem with Kids
The problem with kids and divorce is that all too often it is the children who are the most negatively affected people in the family breakup. While the parents are busy and involved in the process of an ongoing divorce they can fail to recognize that the kids are getting the short end of things. The fact that very young children will not understand the divorce at all only makes things worse. The kids can get confused by the sudden and dramatic changes in their once normal daily lives and right when children need their parents the most, many parents have the least time to give to their children.
Children will often misinterpret things and may blame themselves for their parent’s breakup. If the parents don’t sit down and explain what is going on and what changes are coming that will involve the children and the whole family, the kids will draw their own incorrect conclusions. Children may attempt to repair their parent’s marriage by themselves and mistakenly take responsibility for their parent’s lack of happiness. Nothing good happens when children take action based on wrong information and incomplete facts. Children who suffer extreme trauma in a divorce can develop health problems, behavior problems and even mental problems later in life.
Communication is an essential tool in combating the negative effects of the experience.
Divorce can be a difficult topic to discuss with children, but they will respond if they know the facts and are assured that they will still have two parents even though they will not be living together anymore. Kids need to know their parent’s breakup is not their fault and they should be reassured that they will always be loved and cared for after the divorce. Parents who attempt to get a child to take sides and choose one parent over the other is always a bad idea and will just make the situation more traumatic.
Kids can get so stressed out by divorce that they will exhibit anger and aggressive behavior or withdraw into sadness. The family breakup can cause them to lose interest in life and school and eventually get into trouble. Children of divorce also often experience relationship problems of their own later in life as well. The logical solution is to support the children at the critical time of divorce so they can deal with the situation and get back to being normal kids.
Divorcing with Kids:
Reassure the children that they will always be loved and cared for.
Make sure they know the divorce is not their fault.
Leave them out of the adult decision making process.
Listen and pay attention to what your children have to say.
Never encourage children take sides and choose between parents.
Don’t use the kids as messengers between parents.
Don’t fight in front of the children.
Don’t talk down about your spouse in front of the children.
Try to keep normal schedules, routines and lifestyle.
Get professional help when needed.