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Avoiding Divorce Devastation – How Marital Break-Ups Affect Children
With so many marriages ending in divorce and separation, the effects on children are increasingly recognized. The days when it was assumed that children would refuse the company of their parents, thankfully, are over. More research has been undertaken into the emotional and psychological effects of divorce and how they can be mitigated, but in the mud of confrontation, legal documents and acrimony that accompanies every split marriage, children are often forgotten and kept in the dark. .
Saving a failing marriage can be done. If both parties are willing to do the work, spend the time and put in the maximum effort, this is always possible. The love must be there, the feelings and the will to strengthen the relationship must be strong, and chances are, whatever derailed the situation can be repaired. However, parents staying together only for their children is a potential minefield. Children are much more perceptive than adults like to think. Keep the silent arguments away from the ears and simmering resentments at bay are always resumed. Children have the unnerving ability to know when mom and dad are at each other’s throats or just making an effort for them. Pretending none of this is happening is sheer madness. It is much better to deal with a divided marriage by being open about what the problems are than to hide behind tight smiles.
It is often difficult for a parent to remain impartial when explaining to their children that their mother and father are separating. There is often so much anger and resentment that, no matter how hard you try, it may not be obvious to children that there is a good and a bad part in the process. The mother hates the father or whatever the dynamic is, it puts the children in the unenviable position of feeling that they have to be loyal to both while watching the two parties trying to destroy the other. Explaining that mom and dad don’t love each other anymore is hard – children want harmony, they want happiness and a loving environment. It is part of what we all need as humans to survive both spiritually and emotionally.
Once the prospects of a marriage separation or divorce are discussed, the first thing that children are in a panic is losing one or the other parent and having to choose between them in a custody battle that follows. The courts are more practical in their approach to custody if they cannot agree, and take into account the wishes of each child when it is thought that they are mature enough to understand the ramifications of their wishes.
Communication with your children is vital throughout the divorce or separation process. Keep them continuously updated on what is happening. Do not load with endless details of documents and who sad what, but tell about the salient problems and how these will be dealt with. Allow them time to talk about their feelings and express their thoughts about what is happening. Bottling up feelings of anxiety and fear can lead to devastating effects, including behavioral difficulties, social problems and an inability to engage in relationships well into adulthood.
The practices of having a parent living outside the family home can also be a lot for children to get used to. This is where parents make the mistake of overcompensating for what they see as their failures as parents by indulging children in gifts and toys. This is great – if you are a child and you can maneuver your way to get what you want. But it does nothing to help heal the wounds of the divorce, it just takes the kids’ mind off for a bit. Spending time with them is what they need most. Improved bonding and communication allow them to adapt to their new accommodation and lifestyle.
Whatever the outcome of the situation, whether it is to postpone a marriage, or to leave as friends with an interest in the education of well-balanced children, divorce should not only be a negative. The real key is to maintain a healthy atmosphere and environment for your children so they don’t suffer in the process.
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