"One out of every two marriages today ends in divorce and many divorcing families include children," says The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
"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." Wrong! This is called emotional incest. Your child is a child and should never take the emotional place of a spouse.
Children misinterpret divorce because they have imagined power and believe they may have caused the adult rift. Often kids will convince themselves that they can make the parents reconcile. Wrong again. It's not a child's responsibility to bring adults back together.
Tuesday morning, February 7, The Parent's Plate radio show kicks around the topic of kids and divorce. I have a guest who came from a unique family life - even by today's standards! I hope you catch the show at togi.us/parents. But if you miss the live airing, you can always go to my host page and click on the show's podcast (at right) or listen on iTunes.
In the meanwhile, here are helpful tips for tackling that tough topic (excuse my alliteration):
- Do not keep it a secret or wait until the last minute.
- Tell your child together with your spouse.
- Keep things simple and straight-forward.
- Tell them the divorce is not their fault.
- Admit that this will be sad and upsetting for everyone.
- Reassure your child that you both still love them and will always be their parents.
- Do not discuss each other’s faults or problems with the child.