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When Children Take on Parenting: After Effects of Divorce

parentingThe son of recently divorced parents finds Mom crying in the kitchen.  “What’s wrong, Mom?” he asks.  “Your Dad doesn’t love me.  He has a  new girlfriend. How could he do that to us?”  The boy is angered and hurt.  He hugs his mother as she cries.  He consoles her in her heartbreak.

The daughter of another divorced couple begins to bring home bad grades from school.  The custodial parent, her father, monitors her grades regularly.  However, as a result of the divorce, he sees his daughter as being at a disadvantage and decides not to push her too hard.  He questions her.  “Lisa, what has happened with your grades?  Math was your easiest subject.  You loved school.  What’s going on?”  Lisa says nothing.  She isn’t sure how to respond.  There is no time to study the way she used to study now that she has the added responsibility of getting her brothers ready for school in the morning and making them dinner at night.

Divorce is hard on families.  No doubt about it.  It takes an emotional toll on both parties regardless of the reasons for the decision.  Often the children are affected in less obvious ways that will have a profound effect on their lives in years to come.  Children should never be placed in situations where they feel responsible for their parents’ feelings.  In the first example, the son was made to feel that the father was leaving both the boy and his mother.  Divorce is not about the children.  It’s about the couple who are married.

No matter how upset, hurt or angry you are at your ex, your children deserve to have both parents.  Your children love the other parent.  Your marriage is over but their relationship should not be terminated.  Unless you feel your child is in physical or emotional danger with the other parent, your child has a right and an emotional need to spend time – without anyone else’s agenda – with their other parent.

If you are struggling with letting go of the anger, see a professional, join a divorce group or talk to a friend.  Your child does not need this information.  It can cause them long lasting emotional harm.  It can affect how they interact in their adult lives.  It can affect their self esteem and it causes an inner turmoil because they do not know who to believe between the two most important people in their lives.

Considering divorce or a separation?  Do you have a child custody issue that needs to be addressed?  Contact my office and we will sit down to talk about your specific case and what works for you.

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