Children don't need to be the injured parties

The decision to end a marriage is a decision made by parents, not children. Parents must remember that every choice they make during the divorce process affects their children. Children are the innocent parties in a divorce and if they had their choice they would like to see mommy and daddy together and happy.

 

While parents cannot ensure that their children will come through their divorce unscathed, there are certain things that parents should be aware of and try to instill.

 

Children are very concerned about the fact that their lives will change.  This is true, their lives will change: their parents will no longer be residing together; they will not be sleeping in the same house as both parents any more; they probably will not see both parents everyday; their parents may find new love interests, etc.  Parents should try to explain to their children that everything always changes: the seasons change; they grow up and they get bigger; they change teachers each year; they meet new friends; they are bought new clothing; they watch new television shows; see new movies; like new toys and books; and try new foods. Parents must try to show the children that they may end up liking the new change.  They will now have 2 residences, they will have toys in each place, they may meet new friends in each place. 

 

Children often feel that they are the cause of their parents marital problems.  Sometimes they feel that their behavior caused the split.  Parents must be careful to constantly reinforce the idea that the divorce has nothing to with anything that the child did or did not do. There will be enough blame being thrown around between the adults, the child must understand that he/she was not at fault and is loved by both of them.

 

Putting children in the middle happens very often and is terribly detrimental to the children. They should never be forced to "choose" which parent is right or which they love more.  Not only is this harmful for the children, but children will often feel disloyal to one parent if they want to spend time with the other.  In addition to being placed in the firing zone, children should never hear or be told anything that would tarnish their opinion of the other parent. Parents should encourage the children to respect and love the other one as if they were still a married unit.

 

Children have a short childhood and should be allowed to be children during that time.  They should not be forced to make adult decision, hear adult conversations and be placed in adult situations.  Keep in mind that children are sponges and soak up everything that is going on around them.  Allow them to enjoy their childhood even though it is changing.

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