Divorce is never painless, especially when children are involved. Parents are often so busy, so hurt or so angry that it is difficult for them to focus on helping to ease the trauma of divorce for their children and to try to understand divorce from a child’s perspective.
Most children, regardless of age, do not have the intellectual maturity or the emotional maturity to understand that divorce is a conflict between parents and not a conflict with the child.
As a kids’ counselor, I have worked with many children from split families. These are some of the things they have told me.
Ґ “I wish my parents wouldquit using me to send mes-sages back and forth toeach other.
Ґ I’m the one that ends upgetting yelled at.”
Ґ “My mom said that I can’tsee my dad because hehasn’t paid somethingcalled ‘child sport.’Why does he have to pay tosee me?”
Ґ “My dad said that he’s going to get a second job sohe can buy me back.”
Ґ “Whenever I get back fromvisiting at my mom’s house,my dad acts mad if I had agood time. I always pretendthat I didn’t have any fun.”
How well a child copes with his/her family’s transition and its far reaching implications can be a major influence on several important aspects of his or her life, including the ability to forge and sustain loving relationships and to be a good parent someday.
The most beneficial thing that you can do to help your children through this pivotal time in their lives is to make sure that you do not say negative things about their other parent.
Children get their self image and self esteem from both parents. So, if someone says something mean about one of the parents, it is taken personally by a child. “If dad is a jerk, part of me is a jerk, if mom is lazy, I must be lazy.”
For better or worse, children usually grow up seeking people and situations that reinforce and restate the basic premises they grew up with. This means that if a child feels good about him or herself, he or she will seek good relationships with positive people.
Children are only children for a short time. What do you want them to say about this time in their life? “I really respect my mom for the way she handled things. No matter what my dad said, she never said anything bad about him.” “My dad was great. He wouldn’t say anything negative about my mom and he always told us that we should respect her as our mother.”
You are writing the memory book today. Try to let the love that you have for your child be more evident that the hurt or anger that you feel towards their other parent.