10 Mistakes Parents Make That Can Ruin a Child’s Life After Divorce
Marriages end so often in the world that there is even a Guinness Record for the highest divorce rate. And it belongs to the Maldives. In other countries, of course, the rate is not as high, but still the percentage of divorces makes us sad. After all, a divorce is the end of love, the end of hope, and the main stress and trauma for the spouses themselves and their children. Kids are very vulnerable during this period and because of this parents should try their best to avoid any mistakes that could harm them.
We at Bright Side can’t ignore the problems for children that may arise during a divorce. And so we tried to describe the most common mistakes that parents often make, since they can sometimes forget that children need even more help and support that they do.
1. You perceive a child as an adult
To begin with, the child is not an adult. They may not fully understand the reason for your divorce, your emotions, or your feelings. You’re responsible for them and you must provide them with a sense of security and confidence that everything will be fine.
So, it isn’t necessary to talk to them about everything. They need your support and should feel it without constantly having to comfort you. Share your worries and troubles with friends, family, or a specialist. Don’t load your child up with your problems.
2. You make your child to choose
Don’t force your child to choose between parents. This concerns both the place of residence and the question of who they want to stay with. It makes the kid feel like they are betraying one of you. By choosing one parent, they hurt the other one unwittingly.
This isn’t fair to the child. Go to court or decide these issues with your spouse. You can listen to the child’s opinion when making a decision, but in no case should you ever press the child to make a choice.
3. You try to be the favorite parent
In an attempt to look better than your partner in your child’s eyes, you can harm your kid. Permitting all the things your spouse doesn’t allow, you violate the discipline your spouse has established. Gradually your child begins to do what they want without listening to your instructions and comments. This can badly affect the personality of the child and make them act spoiled and capricious.
You should come to an agreement with your partner about which upbringing principles you will both follow. Discipline and an understanding of what is allowable should be present despite the painful experience of your divorce. This also applies to what you do for your child. It isn’t necessary to point out each time that you have done more for them than the other parent.
4. Your child feels guilty
Children tend to blame themselves for their parents’ divorce. The child is already experiencing stress and their familiar world is completely changing. And the worst thing they can do is feel that they are to blame.
Therefore, it’s important to explain to the child that they aren’t guilty in this situation. They shouldn’t feel that they didn’t meet the expectations of their parents and that one of their bad deeds led to your divorce. Tell them over and over again that you love them.
5. You feel guilty
Besides, it’s worth explaining to your child that this isn’t your fault either. Sometimes unpleasant moments happen in life and things don’t go the way we would like them to. Divorce is one of these unplanned painful events.
And if you place all the blame on yourself and play the role of the guilty parent, it can have a harmful effect on your child. They can begin to use it and will eventually become spoiled and will feel entitled to everything. They might even start to blame you for their misfortunes.
6. You are negative about your partner
As we’ve said, don’t shift all the blame on yourself. But also don’t blame your partner for everything. It isn’t necessary to tell your child about the mistakes and misdeeds of your spouse. And try not to speak badly about them. Don’t forget that your kid is 50% you and 50% your spouse.
So when you are accusing, criticizing, and speaking negatively about your partner, your child can internalize this. It can also spoil their attitude toward their other parent. You both are their parent and your child loves you both, even with all your drawbacks.
7. You use your child as a mediator
No matter how strongly you feel against your partner. In the complete absence of the desire to communicate with them, you shouldn’t make your child the messenger. The kid shouldn’t pass dad’s phrases and thoughts to mom and vice versa.
Try your best and talk with your spouse yourself. The child is already under stress from what’s happened and you don’t need to aggravate the situation by making them feel like they are between 2 fires and have to act as a negotiator.
8. You block your child’s relationship with the other parent
Don’t forbid your child to communicate with their other parent. Don’t try to hurt your spouse by not letting your child visit them, not encouraging them to spend time together, or not inviting them to events that are important events for your kid.
As a result of these actions, the child suffers the most. They need both of you, and the lack of a parent can bring them pain and suffering. It’s better to not get involved in the relationship between your child and your partner.
9. You need the details
If the above isn’t about you and you allow the child to visit your spouse’s place and spend time with them, then try not to arrange an interrogation for the child when they return home. Even if you’re burning with desire to learn everything about your partner, their affairs, and even possibly their new love, don’t press the child.
Limit yourself to a couple of ordinary questions so that the child feels that you’re positive and calm about their meetings and interactions with the other parent.
10. You think your child doesn’t understand the situation
The children can’t understand everything because of their age. But they see, hear, and notice everything. Therefore, it’s important for you and your partner to behave without aggression and hostility toward each other in their presence. Don’t swear and argue when your child can witness it.
They see every single thing and it hurts them. So don’t worsen the stress and suffering of your child by not being able to control your emotions. Try to solve all your issues in private.
What other mistakes can parents make after a divorce? What is better for a child: divorced parents or parents together in an unhappy marriage? We would like to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Illustrated by Oleg Guta, Natalia Okuneva-Rarakina for BrightSide.me