Most of us give thought to the impact of divorce on the couple involved in the marital relationship.
However, I often wonder how much consideration is given to the impact of divorce on the children.
There are many factors that come into play that effect how a child handles this horrible demise of their family and there will be unique situations, but for the most part, children are often “in the middle” of Mom and Dad and depending on the maturity of the parents, children can suffer additional heartache and pain because of their parent’s inability to co-parent as responsible adults.
Too often, children are used as “pawns” by one or both parents to gain control or leverage over the other parent. Children are placed in situations where they have to listen to one or both parents berate and disrespect the other. Sometimes, incredibly selfish and immature parents try to “win” the loyalty of the child by bribing them with material gifts.
Parents use children to “spy” on the other parent and report back to them the household behavior of the other parent. Or, one parent may decide to be unnecessarily non-compliant and refuse to obey court orders governing the children.
Here is my question to parents creating these unnecessary hardships in the lives of their children: If divorce is so painstakingly traumatizing to ADULTS, how much MORE traumatizing do you think it is to your CHILD who has no adult life experience or coping skills?
Parents, WAKE UP! You have a responsibility to provide as much stability and safety for your child(ren) as you possibly can. Children must have stability in order to feel safe and secure in the world. When a parent has had to leave the home; a landmine has been set off in your child’s life.
Stop arguing in front of your children. Stop talking about their “Daddy” and reminding them of how no good you think he is. Let me give you some advice. Whatever their Father is or isn’t, they will discover in time on their OWN. You do not need to tell them and if you continue to berate their father, you run the risk of the tables turning and them growing to resent YOU. I use this example because the case of mother berating father happens quite frequently. However, it works both ways.
Divorcing couples with children need to understand the difference in relationship. He or she was YOUR SPOUSE, but they are your child’s PARENT. The child will NEVER see them through your eyes. Let them decide for themselves what relationship they want with THEIR parent (of course there are exceptions when a parent poses a danger to a child).
For your children’s sake, PLEASE – just be the best Mom or Dad that YOU can be. If your ex-spouse is negating their responsibilities, handle it legally, but do all that you can to keep your children out of it. They need to be loved and nurtured more than ever because their world has imploded.
If you are going through divorce and there are minor children involved – PROTECT THEM and be supportive of their relationship with the other parent as long as there is no danger in doing so. The safety of children is the priority.
This may seem like the hardest thing in the world for you to do, especially if you have been wronged by your ex-spouse. But, you are stronger and more resilient than you think and when you think of WHY you are being cordial and respectful to a former spouse, it should fuel you to press on! You are helping your child to feel safe and supported. The benefits of such are fewer behavioral issues and improved coping skills.
Do ALL you can to give them BOTH of you. They deserve this.