Divorce catches kids in the middle

Divorce catches kids in the middle

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 many people sincerely believe that no divorce is a good divorce. They argue that children are always harmed by the physical and emotional separation of their parents. Therefore, parents should – for the sake of the kids – just stick it out. They should not consider divorce until the children are grown.

This is a particularly prevalent view for many adult children of divorce. Too often they have experienced the dramatic life changes that come with divorce. Many feel permanently scarred as a result.

That 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 in a family that chose to stay together “for the sake of the kids.”

“For the sake of the kids” can be a painful illusion!

My parents should have divorced early in their marriage. They were both miserable together and had little respect for each other. Consequently, they 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 pre-teen 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 real cost, of course, was the well-being of their family, especially the children. I believe they would both have been happier and more fulfilled had they parted ways. Then they could have remained single or chosen another mate.

Selfish parenting, not divorce, does the damage!

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, understand or see that their behavior is hurting their children.
  • It’s vindictive parents who put down the other spouse in front of their kids.
  • It’s callous parents who decide they should have sole custody or primary influence over the kids with little regard for each child’s relationship with their other parent.
  • It’s hurting parents who confide their adult dramas to innocent children who just want to love both parents without guilt.
  • It’s greedy parents who put financial gain and material decisions over the emotional, physical or psychological wellbeing of their children.

In essence, it’s selfish parents who put their own needs ahead of those of their totally dependent children when making life-altering parental decisions. 

When these parents get a divorce, the consequences are not only sad. Too often they end up scarring innocent 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 per se that scars children. It’s two parents so enraged by each other that they make decisions based on blind hatred rather than conscious awareness, compassion and wisdom.

The gift of a Child-Centered Divorce

That’s why I founded the Child-Centered Divorce Network for parents. It’s why I work with divorce experts around the world. Together our goal is educating parents on how to make decisions and choices that safeguard their children. Decisions that protect kids from emotional and psychological turmoil due to the divorce.

There are families around the world who have created a child-centered divorce. These co-parents have learned how to cooperate with one another. They let their children love both parents. And encourage both parents to love their children.

Blessed with parental awareness, insights and compassion, your children can move ahead and thrive following divorce. My team of experts and I are all here to help you through the process!

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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and author of the internationally-acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide To Preparing Your Children — With Love! She provides personal coaching services as well as ebooks and e-courses for parents before, during and long after their divorce. To get Rosalind’s free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right! and other valuable resources for parents go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.

© Rosalind Sedacca   All rights reserved.