Kids and divorce

Children are not amused when their parents divorce. Kids and divorce is a sad combination. When the parents have been fighting all the time, it is obvious for the kids that their parent were not happy together. The children may feel relieved when the announcement comes, but usually they end up with mixed feelings. They may be happy that the fighting ends, but their world falls apart.

The divorce of the parents does not mean that the children divorce from their parents too. It is extremely important to make this very clear to the kids. If they do not understand this, there is the risk that the child starts blaming him or herself for the divorce. That will eat in their self confidence.

The kid will live with one of the parents at a time, or the child will live all the time or most of the time with one of the parents. This does not mean that the other parent does not care for him or her or that he does not love his children any more.

Can a kid cause a divorce of it's parents?

Divorce is between parents. Interpersonal factors that cause a divorce. Father or mother can have an affair with somebody else. It happens that after years of being married happily, dad ends up with a boy friend or mother with another lady. Other marriages end because the special feeling has disappeared. Cultural differences can stand in the way, characters can clash or people can “grow into opposite directions”. Even money can cause a divorce. The causes are uncountable.

A child can be difficult for both parents or for one parent. He can drive his parents crazy and he or she can cause serious troubles for the family. The child can misbehave at school, behave like a criminal, use drugs or getting pregnant at the age of 12.

Unfortunately, many children of divorce blame themselves for the divorce of their parents. They are convinced that if they had done better at school, did not have put the house on fire or worse or if they had been more cooperative, they could have avoided the divorce.

The parents of such difficult kids will not be pleased at all. With the exception of a few uninterested parents, they will take action to improve the situation of the behavior of their child.

Kids and divorce awake many negative emotions. Children sometimes think; “I heard mom and dad complaining and having arguments about my behavior quite a few times. That's why they ultimately divorced.”

No matter what has happened between the child and the parents. The kid is never the reason for a divorce.

Kids and divorce: can they fix it?

Most kids hope for a reunion of their divorced parents. They really believe in it, especially the younger ones. They dream about getting the family back together again. Kids can invent all kind of spontaneous actions to please their parents or even develop smart strategies to bring the parents back.

Of course, this will work like a charm. It will bring the parents closer to the child, but it will not bring the parents closer to each other.

Another strategy that some kids set to work is to cause all kind of trouble. Mom and dad will need to find a way to change the bad behavior and the bad attitude of the child. Of course will this bring the parents together, but the focus will not be on their ended relationship but on the child. It will not work.

If you are a child in the situation of kids and divorce, realise these 2 things. You did not cause or contribute to the divorce of your parents and you cannot bring them back together again.

In a situation of kids and divorce the children should be honest to themselves and to their parents. They should share their emotions and thoughts with their parents and with their brothers and sisters. Do not forget to involve the grand parents.

Kids and divorce: the emotions in a roller coaster

Kids feel angry. They blame themselves, their parents, their brothers and sisters and probably more people. They are frustrated that their live has been turned upside down. They did not cause it and they cannot do anything about it.

They fear what is to come. Where will they live? What will it be like to live with mom only or to switch from one place to the other each week? What will their friends at school say?

They feel sad, because the intimacy of the family has disappeared suddenly. They feel sad because they will not see one of the parents, because they will see only one parent at a time instead of both of them.

After a while, but sooner than most children of divorce think, they will pick up a normal life again. It will be different, but they will find new routines.

How to deal with the emotions

Talking to somebody about your feelings and emotions does help. You will calm down and you will better understand where they come from.

If you are really angry and the adrenaline needs a way out, go for a run, kick a few big trees, hit your head against the wall. Anything that causes some physical pain will make you feel relieved. Shouting and crying have the same effect.

Kids and divorce often have strong emotions which distract them from everything else they try to do. They cannot concentrate at school, when making homework at school, at the sporting club, at parties and when they are supposedly playing with friends. They may need help to get over it.

Talking to somebody – known or unknown – can bring relief. Especially if the other person is a good listener and gives you some simple and encouraging responses. By expressing yourself to few times, you will understand and control your emotions better. You will focus more on the content and the interests of yourself and of your parents, instead of being distracted by your emotions.

Another option is to involve a professional: a social worker, a coach, a counselor or even a therapist. Those professionals assist children in dealing with their feelings and their problems.

A third option are support groups. Nowadays these can be found in schools or in the neighborhood. The advantage of these support groups is the participation of other kids with similar problems. They can talk to each other and share their thoughts and emotions. Because they are in the same situation, they will understand each other very well. This is found to be beneficial to many participants.

There are also lots of books about divorce written just for kids.

Kids and divorce: their future

One of the possibilities is that the child will live with one of the parents. This parent can re-marry after a while. Or decide to cohabitate with a new partner. This can be tough for the kids. The new partner is the choice of the parent and not the choice of the children. In many cases, especially among girls that live with their mother, a new partner is not accepted.

The children have intimate relationships with their biological parents and they tend to have high emotional resistance against their mother or father showing intimate behavior regarding a relative stranger.

Are you a Child Friendly Divorced Parent? Do the
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