By Ken Chisholm
The two most damaging blows that can occur to a family are divorce and the death of a parent. Everyone involved in a divorce suffers. Remember, parents get divorced, children don’t. And yet it’s just as hard for the children if not harder than for the parents.
Divorce Affects Everyone
Almost one out of every two marriages today ends in divorce, and many divorcing families include children and teenagers. Parents who are getting a divorce are frequently worried about the effect the divorce will have on their children.
During this difficult period, parents may be preoccupied with their own problems, but continue to be the most important people in their children’s lives. While parents may be devastated or relieved by the divorce, children are invariably frightened and confused by the threat to their security. Some parents feel so hurt or overwhelmed by the divorce that they may turn to the child for comfort or direction.
Common Reactions in Children to Divorce
Divorce can be misinterpreted by children unless parents tell them what is happening, how they are involved and not involved and what will happen to them. Children often believe they have caused the conflict between their mother and father. Many children assume the responsibility for bringing their parents back together, sometimes by sacrificing themselves.