Think back to when your child was little. Remember how they would flit between subjects that — to you — seemed unconnected. Children’s minds can work in strange and wonderful ways. It is part of the reason kids are so creative. Yet, if you are getting a divorce, it can also be one of the reasons your kids may suffer.
When parents divorce, they often fail to realize what their children may think about the situation.
Children interpret their parents’ divorce in unique ways
As parents, it can be challenging to understand what goes on inside your child’s head. Here are a few things your child could be thinking, regardless of whether they have reason to or not:
- The divorce was my fault: Many children feel divorce is their fault. They may trace it back to arguments you and your spouse had over something your child did. Reassure them it has nothing to do with them.
- Mommy or daddy won’t love me anymore: This may be more common among younger children. Teenagers will better understand that couples do not always get along. To a young child, when one parent leaves the home, they may translate that action as a personal rejection — not part of the marital discord.
- I’m a burden to you: Your child overhears you and the other parent arguing. You are complaining about how hard you have to work to put food on the table. Or how you no longer have a social life because you are at home with your child. When your child hears this, they may think, “Your life would be easier without me.” If you find your toddler packing a few clothes and toys into their backpack, this might be the reason.
There is a lot to consider when making custody arrangements for your child. The more efficient you can make the divorce process, the more time and energy you have for your child. It is a tough time for them. Make sure their imagination is not making it worse.