When parents divorce, each spouse may experience a tremendous amount of emotional stress. If there are children from the marriage, the emotional stress doubles.
Children, as well as the divorced couple, go through a range of emotions. The children may feel afraid, rejected, angry, and even guilty, depending on the age of the child. They do not yet possess the same coping mechanisms as adults do, to understand what is happening, that enables people to accept and move on.
Divorcing parents understand why the marriage fell apart. Understanding it does not make it any less upsetting, but accepting it enables adults to handle it differently than children, because children are egocentric. They believe the world, and more importantly when their parents get a divorce, the home, revolves around them. Therefore, they believe that something they did or said caused the parents’ breakup.
Regardless of the reasons for the divorce, the parent awarded custody of the children, needs to offer emotional support, as well as being there physically. The children will follow the lead of the parent that is still living in the home with them.
It is of the utmost importance for divorced parents to avoid engaging in conversations with their children that paint the other parent as the enemy. This will cause children to believe that the parent also blame the children for the break-up. This also makes the children the pawn for conflicts between the divorced parents.
Divorce is traumatic for children, so parents need to understand what they are going through. Parents need to reassure the children. This must continue after the divorce is final, to ease the transition from children growing up in a two-parent household, to a single parent household.
If parents continue to reassure their children, the children will eventually understand that they had nothing to do with the reason for their parents’ divorce. A number of adults that went through their parents’ divorce as children are better equipped to handle some of life’s problems. This is possible only if they received emotional support from their parents, before, during, and after the divorce.