10 Comments Made By Children of Divorce And 7 Tips To Protect Your Kids
Before I became a marriage therapist, I counseled children in a middle school setting. I can’t tell you how many children sat in my office feeling stress and sadness over issues between their parents. Many cried. All felt pain.
Kids came to see me at different stages of their divorce journey. Their parents may have been married but fighting or may have been in the middle of a highly contentious divorce. It may have been years after the divorce and the kids were struggling with issues related to custody battles, step parents, etc.
Either way, I saw way too many devastated children. That’s why I became a marriage therapist—to help children by helping their parents. I hate seeing children hurt. No rational parent wants to see their children hurt. Unfortunately, sometimes rationality goes out the window and kids do get hurt. Here are 10 statements I commonly heard from the kids I saw.
10 Comments Children of Divorce Make
1. I love both of my parents. I feel so much pressure to choose one over the other.
2. I can’t handle the fighting. I just want to get away.
3. I hate my step mom. She says mean stuff about my mom. (Or step dad with dad)
4. I can’t sleep at night. I just can’t stop thinking. Is it my fault? Did I cause this?
5. I hardly ever see my dad. I don’t understand why mom won’t let me see him.
6. It is like they are trying to buy my love. It is so much pressure. My head hurts.
7. I can’t focus on my schoolwork. I fall asleep in class. I am so tired of this.
8. I am sad all the time. My friends are getting sick of it.
9. I don’t want to hear about their dating or their money issues.
10. I don’t want to sleep on the couch like it isn’t really my home.
So what can you do about it? Here are 7 tips to help protect your kids.
1. Always put your children’s welfare first.
2. Don’t argue in front of your children. Make that inviolable.
3. Don’t bad mouth the other parent to your children no matter how much you want to do so. When you do that, you are taking a jackhammer to your kids’ foundation.
4. Get help for your marriage before you file for divorce. With the right help, lots of people come back from the brink of divorce to have a good marriage.
5. If you choose to see an attorney, remember that you are in control of how you proceed—not your attorney. A divorce that is highly contentious puts your kids at great risk. Figure out how to make the divorce work. You may win the battle against your spouse and lose the war to protect your kids.
6. If you are considering remarrying, see a counselor who knows how to help blended families be successful. It is difficult and takes a lot of work. Just figure you don’t know what you are doing and seek help.
7. Ask your children how they are doing and listen—really listen to their answers. Often, we try to talk them out of what they are feeling rather than listening.
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