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How to survive your parents’ divorce

03rd December 2009
By Cory Aidenman in Divorce
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All over the world people fall in love and, supposedly, at that time when they are least responsible for their actions, they decide to get married and make a life-long commitment. When reality bites, daily struggles arrive, work issues, children issues, different taste issues, and many others, things change.

If the changes occurring are too drastic for one of the parties to accept, the best intentioned marriage can fall apart and end in divorce.

The hardest part of dealing with divorce, which usually implies some form of physical separation, is the family.

If two people are married and there are no children, their divorce issues may well focus on the financial aspect, and after all it is their relationship, so it's only fair they deal with the emotional fall out too.

However, if children are involved, divorce becomes a totally different issue. It is no longer a split between two mature individuals, it is a split of a whole family unit - a split involving individuals who did not have a say in starting the relationship and who most often are not mature enough to truly understand the situation.

So, how to survive your parents' divorce? With great difficulty.

Firstly, if your parents are divorcing - it is not your fault!

This most fundamental view seems to be inherent in most if not all children's perspectives. "I caused my parents to split". The feeling of guilt can be overwhelming and depending on the maturity level of the child it may not even be clear to the child.

Secondly, from the child's perspective the only and the entire world they know involves both parents and the whole family. The thought of that not being so seems to be so far out of the realm of possibility, the child may never accept it. There are adults, whose parents divorced when they were small children, who continue to expect their parents to get back together.

It is very important that the child understands that both parents love him or her, and both parents will be there. This is something many courts do not understand, but the child (unless hurt or abused, but this is not part of the mainstream ideas here) simply wants to feel secure. Wants to know that things are predictable.

If your parents are divorcing - show them you love them. Show them your support and don't take sides. Sadly, especially when lawyers are involved, some parents try to leverage the children, even play terrible mind games. As a child, love them, forgive them, but don't play the mind games. Ultimately, everyone is hurting and it will take time to heal. The life will go on, and one day the child will form relationships, and what happens then, may well depend on what happened to the parents.
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