Don’t let your children blame themselves for your divorce. My Top Tips To Help.
Posted by: Sue Atkins
On Friday 8th January I am launching a new series of free Divorce videos called -> Divorce Step by Step.
Divorce Step By Step has been set up specifically to help you address the range of issues and matters you have to face when going through a divorce. I have been through the process myself so I know 1st hand how you are feeling and what you are going to go through.
I have come out the other side, stronger and fitter in every sense of the word. It’s not easy but with the right help and guidance the Divorce Step By Step videos will help you to help yourself make it less of a minefield.
I think it’s really important that you remember that divorce is a process NOT an event.
No two divorce situations are identical, but I believe sharing your story will be extremely helpful to other people going through the same process. Simply email me your divorce story. All contributions will be edited to keep the identity of everyone anonymous and names will be replaced with initials and we won’t publish any anonymous contributions.
The website is not a place to vent your anger at your ex – it’s a place to get information, ideas & strategies and it’s my intention to empower you to make good decisions going forward.
Here’s today’s article to share.
Don’t let your children blame themselves for your divorce.
I have worked with many families going through a divorce and one common area of distress is when their child blames themselves for their parents divorce.
This is quite a common problem and it is important to reassure your child, regardless of their age, that this is NOT the case. Explain to your child that they are not the cause of your break up and that sometimes friendships & people change and can be happier apart but you both love them no matter what.
I am often amazed that a child will be living in a difficult family situation for months or even years and focus on one event which proves to them that they caused the divorce. In one case a teenager told me she caused her parents divorce because she had cried when her drunken father had accidentally knocked her onto the floor. Her parents had been arguing about drinking issues throughout her childhood. However, she was convinced that if she had been quieter her parents wouldn’t have divorced.
It is such a common misconception that I recommend that you explicitly reassure your children during your talk that they had nothing to do with your divorce. It is really also very important to let your child know that, while parents can divorce, the parent child relationship is forever.
Some children sometimes have a secret fear that Mum may send them away or Dad may leave them if he gets upset or annoyed with them. Young children especially have expressed this concern to me and they need to be reassured that you will be their parents forever. Of course, one of the most important issues for children in the long run is the well being of you, their parents.
It is so important that your children feel reassured that both of you will be fine after the divorce. In my experience, the difficulties for children arise when they start worrying about their parents instead of focusing on being children. Divorce is most difficult for them when they become concerned with adult issues.
If a parent is struggling during and after the divorce, your child can become afraid to discuss his or her own worries or fears in case they further upset you. If you are anxious or depressed, your child can become preoccupied with fixing you instead of enjoying their own life and enjoy doing activities that are appropriate for their age. It is your adult responsibility to find the help you need to be a fully responsible and healthy parent. This can include a supportive social network, compassionate family members, a parenting coach, or a family therapist familiar with divorce issues. Take good care of yourself first so that you can then take good care of your children during this very stressful transition and time of change.