With children being part of a divorce, the entire dynamic changes. Often the divorce can get very ugly due to arguments over custody. There are some very important thing that those going through divorce need to remember when children are involved to make sure that the divorce doesn’t hinder the child’s development. Remember these ten facts next time you and your ex start fighting.
Children have an especially difficult time with divorce. Many times, parents neglect to consider the ramifications of the effects of the divorce on their children. Understanding how children will view the divorce and the resulting parental relationship is an important component to helping minimize the emotional turmoil of divorce for children.
- Children do not get divorced from their divorced parents.Respect this truth, for it manifests itself in many different ways and is a guiding principle for dealing with children. For a child, father is always father, and mother is always mother. There are no replacements. Even if a parent is “out of the picture,” in the children’s mind that parent is always part of the picture, both now and in the future. This needs to be accepted and addressed.
- Children will identify with their same-sex parent.
These identifications are the building blocks of children’s personalities. Daughters will identify with their mothers, and sons will identify with their fathers — regardless of whether the parents are divorced. If children get the message “don’t be like your father” or “being like your mother will result in rejection,” then their development can stall — usually as they begin stepping into the adult roles modeled for them by their same-sex parent: spouse, parent, worker. Even if this parent’s example has been “bad,” children will identify, act similarly, and then, perhaps, try to remedy the “bad” that derailed their parent and led to their family’s breakup through their own relationships.
- Daughters will tend to secretly identify with “the other woman” and sons with the “other man.”Daughters want to be the “apple of Dad’s eye.” If Dad is more desirous of another woman or more interested in something other than the family (like being at the bar), the daughter will, at some point, want to explore this “other world.” The daughter will tend to keep this a secret from mom for fear of being “disloyal” to her. The case is similar for sons. It is helpful to bring this “secret” to light and to talk about it non-judgmentally.
- Beware of children “filling in the gaps.”Divorce can create “gaps” in the family structure and in the lives of both parents. Children will be drawn toward filling these gaps. Some will resist and pull away, often to their parents’ dismay. Some will get stuck in the “gap.” For instance, children will try to solve their parent’s loneliness. Sons may try to discipline their younger siblings — like a father. Daughters may become their father’s companion. When gap-plugging takes precedence over the child’s own personal development, then the plug needs to be pulled.Read more at: http://bit.ly/1MH4RR6