Divorce Does Have An Effect On Your Children
Children And Divorce
When you and your significant other decide that your marriage is no longer functioning for whatever reason, can you please take a moment to think before you react, especially when it comes to your children. Children are already going to experience a sense of loss, and potentially trauma, when “mommy and daddy are no longer living in the same house.”
You have a choice to make and it is one of the most important choices you will ever make because it may determine the happiness and development of your child(ren). Do you focus on co-parenting or do you remain angry and hurt which leads to continued fighting, arguing and disruption for the children. You will have to grieve your divorce but not at the expense of your children.
Divorce is one of the hardest and most challenging things that a child can ever experience, especially if they are put in the middle and have ongoing feelings that they have to choose and they have to take sides, which is what a child often feels or perceives when they are in the middle of a parent divorce. You have to remind yourself each and every time a decision is being made about your children that it is about the child, not your ex-spouse.
Some of the worst chronic stress disorders, depression and anxiety issues I have ever faced when working with children stem from their parents’ divorce. They often feel like a rope being pushed and pulled rather than being able to be a carefree child. They are no longer children; they become the peacekeeper in the family system. They are trying to ‘fix’ things so that the fighting stops. This is not the role of a child.
Often times the emotions a child feels when it comes to a family divorce and dynamics can lead to things that no one wants to hear about. Effects can be self-injury, addiction and suicide because a child doesn’t want to manage or deal with the overwhelming feelings of a divorce or have to deal with mom and dad not being able to get along. A child may begin to think, “What have I done wrong?”
Over the years I cannot tell you how many children have asked me, “Can you please get both of my parents to come to my birthday party this year?” This is a simple request from a child, but often it is met with barriers by one or both of the parents.
Kids don’t care who is paying child support and they should not know the details of why their parents are not together anymore. They should hear that “mommy and daddy” love them so much and know with certainty that they will always both be part of their lives.
When children look into the mirror at a reflection of their own face, they see both their mother and father. But imagine an image when mommy and daddy are constantly fighting. Keep in mind that if you are choosing to talk poorly about the other parent (and do not assume ever that it is when they are not around, or can’t hear you) you are choosing to speak poorly about your child in their perception.
Next week: Children And Divorce, Part 2