Few things are as tragic or traumatic as a divorceespecially for any school-aged children who may be involved. It is almost a given that despite the best intentions of the parents to keep everything civil, children will still generally choose sides and ultimately decide who they believe caused the divorce. For this parent, reconciliation can seem like an unending nightmare. In many cases, the scars caused by a divorce will linger on in a family for generations to come. While many families choose the let’s not talk about the divorce strategy, few children can accept such a closed-minded answer.
Few divorces begin mutually. There is usually one spouse who files for divorce first and ends up hurting the feelings of the other in the process. It is common for children to identify with the parent who was served papers, especially if they are perceived as an innocent victim or at least as the parent who was trying to make the marriage work. Many children will blame the parent who filed for divorce even when it was actually the better thing to dofor all involved.
It is also common for the children of a divorce to have more sympathy and respect for the parent who has primary custody. This parent is generally perceived as the one who must work a job PLUS take care of the children while the other parent only has to send a check and maybe spend some time with them on the weekends. If deliberate steps are not immediately taken to establish a relationship with the children after the divorce has been finalized.
The primary problem is one of trust. The child often feels betrayed by the parent who, in their mind, caused the family to split up. The only way to reestablish this trust is to make sure to be completely honest when they ask questions and to make sure that all commitments are honoredin other words, the child now wants, or rather expects, the offending parent to now treat them with the respect that they did not receive prior to the divorce.
A divorce does not always have to have a good and a bad parent. It is possible that the family can survive a divorce without completely breaking apart at the seams. When children are involved, it is important to reestablish trust with them by being completely honest and fulfilling all commitments made to them. Only by treating children with respect and giving them a voice in family affairs will there still be a family after a divorce.