Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Quick Tip: Effects of Divorce on Children

Most parents do not intentionally try to hurt their children or put them in the middle of the divorce process. Divorce is hard. Parents, you're hurting. When the root of the marital problems haven't been explored and emotions are left unchecked, as parents, you can feel overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed sucks up a lot of energy, often times, leaving you exhausted, with little patience, and with very few reserves to help support the children through the process.

Children experience a vast array of emotions - sadness, anger, fear, guilt, shame, etc. - when their parents are divorcing, sometimes all of those emotions in one day. Many children feel somehow responsible for the marital problems and/or believe they can do something to make things better. Some take on caregiver roles because they see how stressed their parents are. Children have a ton on their plates. They need their parents to not only be emotionally strong to help them with their feelings and the pending changes in their lives, they need their parents - you - to protect them and keep them out of the divorce.

Far too often, children get caught in the middle when parents have not addressed their individual and relational issues and are still struggling with their emotions. Children become the "listening ear" when one parent cannot contain feelings and needs to vent about the other and they become messengers when parents can no longer communicate. They feel torn in their loyalties and wonder if they are still loved. None of this is good for children. This is all the more reason why it is so important for parents to get to the root of the marital problems and work through their emotions. Your children need you during divorce more than ever.