Why do you as parent need to consider post-divorce recovery seriously?
On my blog I have earlier discussed why post-divorce family therapy is of such importance, and why you should consider post-divorce recovery. Before you consider a divorce or if you are going through a divorce or being divorced, think of the following traumatic changes which your children will most possible get through (depending of your circumstances):
Let’s just refresh our minds. What are commonly accepted to be the most traumatic incidents in life?
The top traumatic events (as also mentioned here) are listed as:
- The death of a loved one.
- Separation or divorce.
- Getting married.
- Major illness or injury.
- Starting a new job.
- Job loss.
- Workplace stressors.
- Financial problems.
- Moving to a new house, town of country.
I recommend the following books that you could use to talk to your children about divorce: “Mama and Daddy Bear’s Divorce“, “Two Homes” and “Living with Mom and Living with Dad“.
The impact of divorce on children can be profound, and long lasting
Traumatic changes which children of divorced families are facing:
- Having a second home. Imagine yourself as parent to be moved weekly from one house to another, where rules and routines differ (even slightly, it differs).
- Not all their belongings are there, some of which might let them feel at home or secure.
- Forgetting belongings at the other parent’s house which they haven’t even thought of.
- The impact of dealing with a new girl-or boyfriend in their parent’s life.
- New “siblings” to get along with.
- New “siblings” at home who might occupy or cling to his / her dad / mom and who says it’s my dad / mom and more.
- Sharing a room with a new sibling (essentially a stranger at first).
- Adjust to new friends in a dad’s or mom’s life.
- New ways in which a dad or mom acts and socialises (as age doesn’t matter – whether you are 12, 16, or 82, love sets free feeling good hormones of which endorphin is one, in your brain, and you act differently).
- Dealing with feelings like: ‘Does my mom / dad still love me?’. ‘Won’t she / he forget about me because his new family lives with him now?’
- A new baby, and / or ‘siblings’ and divided attention from a parent.
- A new school.
- A new caretaker to adjust to.
- Less financial privileges.
- More financial privileges.
- Different financial privileges at the two different households.
- New unknown emotions and feelings like sadness, guilt (many children believe it was their mistake that their parents got divorced), anger, isolation, depression, insecurities and more.
- Identity and role changes (not being the youngest / oldest in the family any more).
- Perceived ‘unfair’ discipline by mom’s / dad’s new boy- or girlfriend.
Put yourself in your children’s shoes
It really is important that you put yourself in your child’s / children’s shoes and try to experience what they might be experiencing. Remember every child is different and not all of them will experience the same emotions and feelings. What a child will experience will depend on aspects like his position in a family, personality types, previous trauma and setbacks in his / her life and more.
Conclusion: Why do you as parent need to consider post-divorce recovery seriously?
Important: The aim of this information isn’t to make you feel more guilty about your divorce. You might have been in a verbal / emotional / physical abusive relationship or in a relationship with a spouse who is addicted, cheats on you and more. Sometimes you don’t actually have another option but to get divorced (and depending of your circumstances it might be better for you and your children). The aim is however to give you a better perspective of what the theory says about divorce, and the impact thereof on families, and to understand what your children might be experiencing when dealing with parents’ divorce. This will give you good tools to help them deal with these huge challenges.