Kids in a Divorce

The Huffington Post has dedicated an entire section to divorce, which I thought was rather interesting. Huffington Post Divorce.  There are many articles dealing with topics ranging from stories regarding specific divorces to money and relationship advice.  What a great resource for someone going through a divorce!

One of the features was a link to various blogs written on the topic of divorce.  The very first one that jumped out at me was blog written by a 16 year old on the topic of his cheating dad.  (To read blog, click here.)  This is a brutally honest story of how infidelity and an absentee dad has ripped apart this kid’s family.  He says:  “When your parents divorce, all that changes. Especially if infidelity and lies were the foundation of your father leaving. Because how do you make believe everything is fine when the shrapnel is still in your skin?”  Wow!

I have often said that parents don’t give kids enough credit.  Kids are extremely perceptive and they get what is going on.  Often, the parent at fault refuses to acknowledge this and blames the other parent for the anger or estrangement of the child towards them.  You can’t just walk away from your family, especially when infidelity is involved, and expect that everything will be ok.  Kids often hold on to even the smallest grievances.  They certainly aren’t going to ignore and forgive this behavior very easily.

On the other hand, because they are often very aware of what is going on and have their own anger and feelings on the matter, the “wronged” parent does not need to discuss his or her own feelings with their children.  Children have enough to deal with themselves; they don’t need to be burdened with the guilt and anger of their parents too.

If parents would only treat their children as emotionally aware and feeling individuals, I firmly believe a lot of the issues and problems that arise in a divorce with children would be minimized.  Children should know what is going on and why it is happening.  However, you do not need to share your emotional upheaval with your children.  They have enough of their own.  You do not need to enlist them to be on “your side”.  And, you do not need to share with them intimate details or disparge the other parent.  After all, he or she is still their parent and your children love them no matter what.

Kids are people too and the sooner both parents acknowledge that and accept responsibility for their own actions, the less damaging the divorce will be to the children and to their relationship with their parents.

-Teri M Nelson