Children often feel or are really helpless when their parents get divorced. This is a very emotional time for parents and children become part of the conflict, since each parent individually decides what is in the interest of the children according to their own beliefs.
Most of the parents continue to care for their children and maintain a civilized, if not friendly, relationship with the person with whom they are separated for the rest of their lives. For those who cannot keep that kind of relationship with their ex-spouse, it seems that children have much to say about it. In case that they tell you what they think, it is a good idea to listen carefully of some words of wisdom they have to offer. Here are some examples:
Children do not want:
... To see their parents arguing. It makes them feel bad about themselves.
... Talk to them about the divorce and adult issues; either way they will not understand them.
... To hear about financial issues, alimony, or custody. They feel less like children and more like material goods.
... To make them questions about what happens/happened at home with the other parent. They feel like they have to spy their parents instead of loving them.
... Use them as messengers for anything you need to say from one parent to the other. This means they are the ones that have to deal with the reaction of the other parent, and that makes them feel scared and anxious.
... To feel bad for the love of the other parent. They want to feel protected by both parents, and not guilty.
... To feel bad when you are on the phone with their other parent. They feel pressured by both parents and will certainly do not want to choose between the two.
... To stop seeing their other parent. It is very stressful to be in the middle without choosing so. They want to be able to love you completely and without guilt.
... To hear one of their parents blaming each other for what went wrong with their lives. They are too young to be able to cope with all this, and this is very stressful for them.
... One of you to ignore the other, when you are in some sport or other event. Simply behave as adults and do not bring them in a difficult position.
... To be worried about what may or may not take with them when they go back and forth between your houses. They just want to be able to have their things whenever they wish.
... Having to answer questions that make them choose between you or the other parent, especially on where they want to live. They think that is unfair.
... Everything to be so rigid. They like much better when everyone is flexible and not cling to the life they had before and their past choices.
... Talk to them about everything. They would prefer if you could find a friend or a therapist to talk about what you are going through, instead of transferring your worries to them, since they cannot be of much help.
If you are in any stage of a divorce, maybe these ideas can help you when you interact with your children.
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