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Monday, 18 April 2005

Mom and Dad Are Splitting Up: A Therapist's Comments on Divorce

Written by  Ruby Wolbromsky, Ph.D.

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More than half of the marriages in the U.S. end in divorce.
So there's a good chance that either you or a friend of yours has parents who are splitting up - or who already have.

Divorce hurts. I don't need to tell you that. You might feel a lot of pain and be very sad. You also might feel like you're going through this all alone.Well, you're not alone. Just look at what Brandon's going through. You're probably older than him, but some of the things he says are true for older kids too. The stuff I'm going to say needs to be discussed with your parents. Sometimes even parents can be so busy with their own problems - especially if they're getting a divorce - that they don't realize that your feelings and questions are important too.

So go ahead and remind them that you need to talk about what's going on. You can do the same thing with friends, neighbors, family members or a teacher or guidance counselor - talk to any of them. Let's get back to some of the things that Brandon is dealing with:

SHOCK

When a parent moves out, it's a shock. Brandon asks, "Why?" and keeps saying he doesn't understand. Of course he doesn't understand. Why should he? It's not fair for a young kid to have to suffer because his parents can't get it together, but unfortunately, that's life. That's one of those things kids have no control over. It's real hard, but your job is to try to accept their splitting up without feeling too much anger toward them.

CONFUSION

Brandon wonders:

  • "They weren't getting along, but why separate?"
  • "Why can't Dad just live in the basement?"
  • "Will I see him anymore?"
  • "What will it be like without him at home?"
  • "Where's he gonna live?"
  • "Who will I live with?"

The list goes on and on...

All these questions are legitimate. If you have the same questions, you have the right to receive answers. Most divorced parents stay in touch with their kids and visit, but tell them that you want to hear it from them.

GUILT

"I hope it's not my fault," Brandon wonders. "If I was a better kid would Dad be less upset and maybe stay?"
Parents don't get divorced because of their children. It's Mom and Dad's relationship that is the problem, not your behavior. And if they tell you otherwise when they're in a bad mood or angry at you for something, don't believe them!

ANGER AND SADNESS

"I hate it."
"Daddy always reads a story to Lyn and me at night. Who's gonna do that now?" Divorce makes kids angry, lonely and sad. Kids feel it shouldn't happen and they feel their lives are getting ruined because their parents can't get it together.

What you're feeling is normal. Don't feel embarrassed about how you feel. You'll get through this, with a little help from your friends.

Last modified on Tuesday, 01 November 2011 07:34
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Ruby Wolbromsky, Ph.D.

Ruby Wolbromsky, PhD, is a psychologist with more than 30 years experience, specializing in children and adolescents.

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