Monday, January 21, 2008

Parental Divorce As Seen Through a Child’s Eye

Anxiety During the Divorce Process

Children are very likely to feel anxious about their future during the divorce process. A child’s mother, father, and home comprise of his or her world. This world suddenly seems to shatter at even the thought of parental separation. Children’s minds are very fragile and innocent. Therefore, rather than worrying about the big picture of future they tend to worry about things like who will get to keep the dog.

There is also a lot of anxiety associated with whom they will stay with after the divorce. This anxiety is likely to cause a lot of fear and depression in the child. Therefore, it would be best if you and your partner decide about the child’s living arrangement and let the child know about these arrangements. While telling a child about his or her future living arrangements is likely to reduce the anxiety in the child’s mind, the depression related to losing a parent will continue for a very long time.

Loss of a Parent

Children do not tend to view divorce as a mere separation of parents but rather as a loss of one parent. Children tend to attach a lot of importance to small things such as spending evenings with their parents, eating breakfast together with their parents, playing with their parents over the weekend, and the special weekend getaways.

All of a sudden the very parent whom they share these special and treasured moments with ceases to be a part of their daily life. In some cases, the non-custodial parent may not even be able to meet the children every weekend. Therefore, the non-custodial parent becomes a mere visitor who tends to spend some time with the children on a sporadic basis. This can have an adverse effect on the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent.

The child may feel very helpless if he or she wants to spend more time with the non-custodial parent but is legally not allowed to do so. Some children are so young that do not even understand that the non-custodial parent will be visiting them regularly. In such cases, they feel abandoned by the leaving parent and this tends to hurt them deeply.

Children Tend to Feel Confused During the Divorce Process

Many children do not understand the rationale and logic behind divorce. Children want their parents to stay together for the rest of their lives because that is how they imagine their parents’ relationship to be. Therefore, when a child’s parents think about separation, they do not know how to react.

Children only see things in black and white and therefore start thinking who is to blame in the entire situation. They do not know where their loyalties lie and get very confused while determining whom to turn to for support. The insecurity that children feel during the divorce process is likely to make them feel very vulnerable. If the child thinks that one parent is to be blamed for the divorce, the child is highly likely to have bitter feelings for that parent for the rest of his or her life.

Children Blame Themselves for the Divorce

In most cases, children tend to think that divorce is a result of some wrong action committed from their end. Due to this reason, most children try to change their behaviour and actions to please their parents so that they would change their decision to divorce. Sometimes children resort to different measures to try to get their parents back together. However, when they realize that their attempts are useless, they get even more depressed because the eventuality of the situation starts dawning on them.

Children Tend to Feel Lonely During the Divorce Process

Divorce is a very tough time for children. There is so much going through their minds and if the children are very young, they do not know whom to reach out to for mental and physical comfort. Usually, parents tend to get so involved in the legal process and sorting out their own feelings that they are not able to give the child the extra attention that a child needs around this time. This can make the child feel very lonely. He or she is bound to keep his or her thoughts and feelings bottled up. However, doing so only makes the child even more lonely and depressed.

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