Divorce and Separation - A Child's Perspective
It is always the children that suffer the most when a marriage breaks down and separation or divorce is imminent. Children of divorcing parents often witness arguments even rows and this has a strong effect on any child. Children do not understand why parents argue and cannot relate to rows during the build up to a divorce or seperation. They become confused and insecure and their life seems as if it is in turmoil. Here we explain some of the issues from a child's perspective.
Children do not understand why parents no longer love each other and cannot stay together. Prior to divorce or separation they have only known that happy caring family environment which they were brought into. To them their world has been turned upside down and they cannot see why. If parents loved each other in the past, then why can't they love one another in the future.
Children often believe that they could be the reason for a break up in a marriage which can result in long term damaging guilt complexes. A child's character often changes during divorce or separation when things are not normal at home. Children can be very sensitive to the emotional environment.
During divorce or separation many children become disruptive at school, argumentative at home and some even go into a recluse. This can be a very lonely time, particularly if they are an only child. Their friends are not going through what they are emotionally. Hence they feel that they are the odd one out all of a sudden and do not know how to cope with the situation. All they want is for their life to go back to a normal family life where parents don't argue and row as it may have been before the stress of divorce or seperation.
When a couple decide that divorce is the only option and separation is a necessity, children are again the ones that it effects the most. They are told that they will be with one parent one day and the other the next. How are they supposed to form any kind of routine ? This can often result in children not sleeping in their own beds as they prefer the comfort and security of being with a parent. Children often feel insecure and are most vulnerable even at school when they listen to their friends planning family outings and holidays.
Children of divorcing parents can feel as though they are going to miss out on family events and get togethers. During a divorce each parent makes separate commitments to a child and It is important that when arrangements have been made by the parent or parents that they keep to them as the child will feel let down and resent a parent for not being there for them after they had said they would. Reliability and punctuality are of utmost importance to a child. They will clock watch and expect to see you on time and have been looking forward to spending time with you wherever you decide to take them. In a child's eyes it's you they want to be with and it's your time spent with them that's most important to them even after the divorce or separation.
Divorce can bring our the worst in people. Never run down the other parent in front of your child. This creates resentment and bad feelings all round. Also, never think that you can buy a child if you are late or fail to follow through with your promise. Although you may think that you are doing good for buying your child a toy to impress them - think again - keep that special toy for a birthday or Christmas present. Your time to be with them is much more valuable than a toy. Even after the divorce or separation they will remember where you took them and what a fantastic time you both had rather than a toy. They will talk about your outing or time together for days because it meant so much to them to see you and have you all to themselves. Quality time rather than quantity of toys is far more important to a child.
These are just some of the issues children face when parents are going through the throws of a divorce or separation and every attempt should be made by divorcing parents to limit or reduce these adverse affects upon children.
Jenny Clair is the editor of Marriage-Divorce-Separation.com an article based web site exploring the human side of marriage breakdowns, divorce and separation situations.
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