You may know that divorce is the best thing for your family. The way you and your spouse are fighting right now and the bitter feelings you have toward one another are palpable. Getting a divorce is going to affect all areas of your life, and that puts a lot of stress on you. Of course, if you have children, you have to realize that this is going to affect them, too.Naturally, a lot of children would rather their parents stay together, however, that could be a major mistake. Before we look into divorce from a child’s point of view, it’s important to realize why you shouldn’t stay together for the kids.
Don’t Stay Together for the Kids
One of the worst things you can do is to try to stay together for your kids. While it might seem like it is better in the short term, it could end up doing a lot more damage than you realize.
First, you and your spouse are likely to continue being unhappy with one another for years to come. This is no way to live, and it could end up making the household more unbearable for everyone there.
Second, the kids are going to feel that there is still tension. You don’t want them to get it in their heads that they should stay with someone if they aren’t happy.
The best thing to do is to move forward with the divorce and to be as honest as possible with the kids. Don’t tell the kids the reasons for the divorce, of course, but let them know that it’s happening.
Now, let’s get a look at how the kids are going to perceive the divorce.
Fear of the Unknown
When we think about divorce from a child’s point of view, it takes on different meanings for them based on their age and the situation. However, as soon as the changes that divorce brings start to happen, it’s just a matter of time before it all really starts to hit home. Before that, a lot of kids imagine that their parents are going to work things out and that there is no way they would get a divorce.
When it looks like things are getting serious though, that fear of the coming changes starts to kick into overdrive.
What are the kids worried about? Just about everything in their current life. They are worried about their parents and how they are treating one another. They are worried about what is going to happen with their living situation. Will they have to move to another school? What are they going to tell their friends?
There are countless worries, and sometimes the kids don’t feel as though they should voice all of their concerns. They might be upset with one or both of their parents. Maybe they are afraid of the answers they will get.
As a parent, you need to sit the kids down and answer as many questions as you can at this juncture. Some of the details might not be hammered out quite yet, such as the housing situation, but let them know as soon as you can.
Don’t go into details about why you are getting divorced. Just cover all of the logistical issues and worries that the kids have. When they see that you have a plan in place, it can help to ease their worries.
The Kids Are Paying Attention
Divorce often brings out the worst in people. You might be bitterly angry at your ex, and you might want to say terrible things about them. Don’t do this in front of your kids. They learn from your behavior, and they see how you are treating their other parent. You want to do your best to attempt to handle everything with maturity during your divorce. It’s better for your kids to see this behavior, and you’ll find that it could be better for you, too.
Kids Can Feel Embarrassed About the Divorce
Even though divorce is nowhere near as stigmatized as it used to be, it’s not something people like to talk about. This includes kids.
Depending on their age, kids might be hesitant to tell their friends about the divorce because they are embarrassed. This is especially true if they don’t have friends who have divorced parents.
Sometimes, the kids feel that something is wrong with them and their families when a divorce happens. It doesn’t matter if statistics show that a lot of people end up getting divorced. This is because it feels so personal and immediate to the kids. They don’t care about statistics. They care about what’s happening to them.
Kids Often Do Believe the Divorce Is Their Fault
You have probably heard countless times that you need to let the kids know that the divorce isn’t their fault. This is an important step in letting the kids know the divorce is coming, to be honest. Even though you might think there would be no way your children could blame themselves for the divorce, that’s not the case.
A lot of kids scour their minds trying to think about the things they have done or said that might have caused tension with or between their parents. They take small issues, blow them up, and truly feel as though they could be to blame for the divorce. You and your spouse need to reassure them that this is not the case. Make sure the kids know they are loved.
Different Aged Children Often Approach Divorce Differently
Of course, kids of different ages will react differently to the divorce. It’s not just the ages, though. It also comes down to the personality of the kids and their maturity level. Some will be able to seemingly handle it better than others will.
However, regardless of how stoic or manic a child might seem, divorce from a child’s point of view is extremely different than our own. Parents can provide some of that, as can their extended family. However, you should also consider taking the kids to therapy during and after the divorce.
Sometimes, kids will feel more comfortable talking with a therapist than they will talking with either of their parents. It can give them an outlet that they might need.