In a recent article for Huffington Post, YourTango’s Tara Kennedy-Kline revealed the “12 Things That Kids Think About Divorce But Are Too Afraid To Say,” for short-sighted parents who may have recently filed divorce papers. There were certainly some interesting comments — take a quick look here:
But the one that stood out the most for us, was this:
Quit telling me I’m “being dramatic” about what’s happening. … The family I knew for the whole of my life is ending, and I am scared to death. And from my perspective, you simply stopped loving someone who made you angry, so how long will it be before I do something to make you stop loving me?
As parents, especially during strained times like filing divorce forms, we place unreal demands on our children. We expect them to understand the complexities of human emotion as it relates to a sex-based relationship. It’s almost certain that we don’t do it on purpose — who would by that cruel? — but we do it nonetheless.
All a child sees, is that the family unit is gone. They’ve lost that stability. It’s been disposed of, and now they feel disposable as well.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking your child “gets it” simply because they don’t ever complain. Do all you can to make them feel like they matter, and that even though you and their other parent are no longer together, you’re both still committed to their upbringing. This is sometimes easier to accomplish in a low-conflict uncontested divorce, but it’s worth it no matter how much work you have to put in.
If your marriage is ending (or has recently), make sure that you’re not putting too much on your child through a strained relationship with your ex. Best of luck as you move forward!