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  1. #1

    Children and Divorce

    Children and Divorce
    One out of every two marriages today ends in divorce and many divorcing families include children. Parents who are getting a divorce are frequently worried about the effect the divorce will have on their children. During this difficult period, parents may be preoccupied with their own problems, but continue to be the most important people in their children's lives.

    While parents may be devastated or relieved by the divorce, children are often frightened and confused by the threat to their security. Some parents feel so hurt or overwhelmed by the divorce that they may turn to the child for comfort or direction. Divorce can be misinterpreted by children unless parents tell them what is happening, how they are involved and not involved, and what will happen to them.

    Children often believe they have caused the conflict between their mother and father. Many children assume the responsibility for bringing their parents back together, sometimes by sacrificing themselves. Vulnerability to both physical and mental illnesses can originate in the traumatic loss of one or both parents through divorce. With care and attention, however, a family's strengths can be mobilized during a divorce, and children can be helped to deal constructively with the resolution of parental conflict.

    Parents should be alert to signs of distress in their child or children. Young children may react to divorce by becoming more aggressive and uncooperative or withdrawing. Older children may feel deep sadness and loss. Their schoolwork may suffer and behavior problems are common. As teenagers and adults, children of divorce often have trouble with their own relationships and experience problems with self-esteem.

    Children will do best if they know that their mother and father will still be their parents and remain involved with them even though the marriage is ending and the parents won't live together. Long custody disputes or pressure on a child to "choose sides" can be particularly harmful for the youngster and can add to the damage of the divorce. Research shows that children do best when parents can cooperate on behalf of the child.

    Parents' ongoing commitment to the child's well-being is vital. If a child shows signs of distress, the family doctor or pediatrician can refer the parents to a professional for evaluation and treatment. In addition, the professional can meet with the parents to help them learn how to make the strain of the divorce easier on the entire family. Psychotherapy for the children of a divorce, and the divorcing parents, can be helpful.

  2. #2

    Re: Children and Divorce

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter
    Long custody disputes or pressure on a child to "choose sides" can be particularly harmful for the youngster and can add to the damage of the divorce. Research shows that children do best when parents can cooperate on behalf of the child.
    There really is no cooperation between my boyfriend and his ex-wife, almost all communication is through the children or voice-mails. She is so irrational that he's afraid to pick up the phone when he sees that the call is coming from their house. He waits to check and see if it's one of the girls and then calls back and they answer.

    There was no long custody dispute, however, I do think that the girls feel that they have to choose sides, because there's so much hostility most of the time.

    She's impossible to deal with and they've been divorced for 2 years, apart for 3 years.
    "How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?" - Reggie - from the movie "What the Bleep Do We Know?"

  3. #3

    Children and Divorce

    I think in many cases eventually the children learn what's real and what's not as they get older and start to think for themselves. Her attempts to vilify their father may well backfire in time. Sadly, sometimes it's too late and the poisoning has gone too deep, but I think that's a minority of cases.

    In the meantime, the best advice to you and your boyfriend is to grit your teeth and do your best not to respond in kind or stoop to her level. Even if she can't/won't focus on what's best for her daughters, you can.

  4. #4

    Children and Divorce

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter
    I think in many cases eventually the children learn what's real and what's not as they get older and start to think for themselves. Her attempts to vilify their father may well backfire in time. Sadly, sometimes it's too late and the poisoning has gone too deep, but I think that's a minority of cases.

    In the meantime, the best advice to you and your boyfriend is to grit your teeth and do your best not to respond in kind or stoop to her level. Even if she can't/won't focus on what's best for her daughters, you can.
    Yes, it took me a long time to come to those realizations. I do firmly believe that someday that woman will see what she is doing/has done to her daughters.

    I once heard a quote something like this....resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.

    It took a long time to let go of the resentment, and I think I have, well, maybe not all of it, actually only some of it.

    I'm a work in progress though.. :o)

    I do think we've made some progress with the girls. My bf does correct them more and doesn't seem to let them manipulate him as much, but it still happens and it does drive me crazy when it does. I just have to learn to accept that we have different parenting styles I guess.
    "How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?" - Reggie - from the movie "What the Bleep Do We Know?"

  5. #5

    Children and Divorce

    I do firmly believe that someday that woman will see what she is doing/has done to her daughters.
    I don't share your confidence about her coming to that realization -- in my experience, the "alienator" continues to blame the ex-partner. But I do have confidence in teenagers' ability to see behind the nonesense to the truth... eventually.

  6. #6

    Children and Divorce

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter
    I do firmly believe that someday that woman will see what she is doing/has done to her daughters.
    I don't share your confidence about her coming to that realization -- in my experience, the "alienator" continues to blame the ex-partner. But I do have confidence in teenagers' ability to see behind the nonesense to the truth... eventually.
    I suppose that you are probably right.

    Sometimes when I think/talk about this situation I relate it to my own situation with my own mother and my thoughts get jumbled up.

    I suppose the reason I think she'll see it someday is because the girls might let her know it, as I did to my mother.

    I spent years blaming my mother for everything bad in my life, and she knew it.

    I'm getting past all of that too.

    Gosh, it's going to seem like I have a lot of issues. I've been here two days and have shared the bulk of my 'stuff', at least in summary.

    I guess I've learned by participating in other online groups that there's almost always someone out there that can relate on some level to what is being shared. Also, by sharing my stuff it helps me work through my thoughts, and often to see things more clearly.
    "How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?" - Reggie - from the movie "What the Bleep Do We Know?"

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