Losses from Divorce
If you are divorcing it is very important to sit down with your children, preferably both of you together, and later separately, and tell them these things repeatedly:
- You are loved by both of us even though we will be apart. We each love you and will take care of you. You will be safe, loved and cared for in your life. It can be hard for you to get used to our living apart, but you will get used to it.
- It is not your fault. Many times children feel it is their fault because they see parents angry and fighting and then start believing they caused it.
- It is real. You have to accept that we are divorcing. You may not like it, but it is happening.
- You must realize that though you will be taken care of and have time to be with each of us you cannot get us back together. Repeat this and that it is not their fault because children carry the fantasies it is their own fault and that their parents will get back together again.
- Try and keep them from hearing each other complain about the divorced partner. It’s important not to go to your children with those conflicts. They will feel burdened and pressured by it. It can affect their relationships later.
- When either of you is dating or planning on remarrying it is important to tell your children that these are your choices and that they cannot pick your mate for you. They will develop a relationship on their own with the new person.
Tell your children you will always be there with them to help them with their feelings, and to comfort them. Show them you mean what you say by your actions during the typically tumultuous time surrounding your divorce.
In my psychiatric practice I have seen over and over again how children blame themselves for their parents divorce. It really affects them. It is not their fault and this needs to be repeated to them, again and again.