Children will often blame themselves for the divorce.
I know parents would never consciously blame their child for the divorce… So why is it that so many children of divorced families blame themselves for their mother and father splitting up?
Kids’ ears are like radar. Although it may seem like they are not listening to you or have selective hearing, they are very tuned in. They pick up on what parents are saying and will form a story around that.
It will become their story, and unless you are aware of what their story is you can only guess. You may be surprised to discover that their story is nothing like your story. Their story might be that they are blaming themselves for why you and your ex have chosen to divorce.
You can absolutely avoid this for your child and not have them carrying around shame and blame that their parents are divorcing.
So what can you do?
Be careful of what you are saying and where you are saying it.
You might be talking to your ex on the phone for example, or even in the other room, and you might be discussing who is driving your son to hockey or who is paying for your daughter’s dance lesson that night.
If there’s an argument in pursuit of one of those issues, this is a way that your kid may decode that they are the reason for your distress and the choice you made to part.
So be very conscientious of your discussions with your ex or with anybody that you might be talking to about your children.
Explain to your child why it is that you and your partner have chosen to divorce. Communicate clearly to them that they have nothing to do with the choice that the parents are divorcing. Tell them that both parents love them and that this is adult stuff, and that you will be their for them 100% and continue to love and parent them. Help them understand clearly that they have nothing to do with your decision to part.
This clarification from you, them hearing your words, will help minimize the weight on their shoulders so they do not feel like they had something to do with the distress that it caused you to divorce.
Whether they say it verbally or not, children want and need your love, support, and reassurance that everything is going to be OK on this journey of divorce.
Dr. SueAnne Magyar-Hill
Support System Inc.
Founder of Empowering Children Of Divorce
P.S. Speaking of a journey. Here is a journey that you and your child can do together that is both fun and creative and will deepen the powerful bond between you.
Click on the link or banner below to take: The 21-Day “I AM a Gift to the World!” Challenge