Two Faulty Beliefs About Divorce & Children

Myth 1 – That if parents are happier divorcing, that children will be happier too.

While adults today often pursue the idea of happiness, especially if they are in a loveless marriage. They often think that if they would be happier divorcing their spouse that their children would therefore be happier too. The truth is that most children don’t care if parents sleep in separate bedrooms. They, from their perspective, would prefer their parents remain together. Even after divorce many children pursue a reconciliation fantasy; hoping parents will reunite. Children often become numb or controlling to reject future stepparents. Children may carry the reconciliation idea for many years. Often hoping against hope that the parents will reunite.

Myth 2 – That the effects of divorce on children are temporary. The only difficulty for children is at the time of being told about the break up.

The belief by many parents is that children generally would be happy even though their lives are changed forever. That children, can easily transition between two houses (often with two sets of rules) living in two different places, dividing different nights of the week with each parent and visiting two different neighborhoods. Parents often further believe that this adjustment by children will take place in spite of at least one parent who is hurt, angry, and anxious about starting life over again, after disillusionment and an economic downturn in their lives.

I have experienced many many parents, even after years of divorce, who remain frustrated, angry, hurt and even in conflict with their former spouse. In speaking with countless adult children of divorce they tell me that unless there was ongoing violence or abuse in their lives that their memories of parent conflicts are limited. That the more prominent feelings that remain include; insecurity, loneliness, sadness and anger. They discover trust to be difficult as they find their way into adult relationships.
While all adults don’t choose whether they will end up in divorce. Understand that children must be sensitively pursued throughout their development. If divorce does occur, parents at least must be cooperative and supportive of the child and work together to help the child through what they will experience as a life altering experience. If your child has experienced divorce, seeing each parent remain attuned to their needs and consistently involved in their life will help their adjustment. Children need healthy parents throughout their lifetime.

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