divorce conflict can scar innocent children

Divorce conflict hurts kids!

By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC   

Divorce is a highly emotional topic. When children are involved the consequences are far more dramatic – and, not surprisingly, so are our opinions. I know there are many people who sincerely believe that no divorce is a good divorce. That children are always and inevitably harmed by the physical and emotional separation of their parents. And that parents should – for the sake of the kids – just stick it out and not rock the boat with divorce or separation until the children are grown.

This is a particularly prevalent view for many grown children of divorce who have felt wounded. They’ve experienced the dramatic life changes that come with divorce and feel permanently scarred as a result.

Simply staying together can scar children too!

Their response is certainly understandable. But it’s not the final word on this subject. I have another perspective. It’s based on the experience of being raised by parents who chose to stay together “for the sake of the kids.”

My parents should have divorced early in their marriage. They were both miserable together. They had little respect for each other, and raised two children in a home fraught with anger, tension, frequent loud arguments and discord.

I remember my mother asking me one day when I was in early adolescence whether she should divorce Dad. “No,” I cried. I wanted a Mom and a Dad like the other kids. However, my childhood was miserable and filled with insecurity.  Immersed in that insecurity I feared what life would be like if my parents were divorced. Mom didn’t have the courage to do it anyway. Those were vastly different times, especially for women. So she continued in her unhappy marriage for decades more.

Looking back, I feel that was an unfortunate mistake. Neither of my parents were bad people. They were both just totally mismatched. Their communication skills were miserably lacking. And they were wrapped up in winning every battle at all costs. The cost, of course, was the well-being of their family, especially their children. I believe they would both have been happier had they parted ways. They then could have remained single or chosen another mate.

Divorce itself doesn’t scar children!

Based on my own personal experience, I’ve come to firmly believe that it’s not divorce that scars our children.

  • It’s wounded parents who do not care or understand that their behavior is hurting their children.
  • It’s vindictive parents who put down the other spouse in front of their kids.
  • It’s egocentric parents who decide they should have sole custody or primary influence over the children regardless of the impact on the other parent.
  • It’s unconscious parents who confide their adult dramas to innocent children who just want to love both parents.
  • It’s greedy parents who put financial gain and material decisions over the emotional wellbeing of their children.
  • In essence, it’s selfish parents who scar their children through and after the divorce.

Selfish parents put themselves first!

Selfish parents put their own needs ahead of those of their totally dependent children regarding parenting decisions. When these parents get a divorce, the consequences are not only sad. Too often they end up wounding vulnerable psyches.

They forget — or are ignorant about — how their decisions will affect their children in the months, years and, yes, decades ahead. It is not divorce itself at fault. It’s two parents so enraged by each other that they choose blind hatred over conscious, loving wisdom. The children always pay the price!

There is much more that can be said on this subject. However, space prompts me to stop for now. I value your feedback on this controversial topic and encourage thoughtful dialogue with one another. Please send your comments along to me for more in-depth discussion.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network. She’s a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach . She’s the author of the acclaimed e-book, How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide To Preparing Your Children — With Love! To get her advice, coaching services, expert interviews, programs, e-courses and other valuable resources on divorce and co-parenting, visit: https://www.childcentereddivorce.com

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