Families appear to be solid when parents are working together to balance their careers with parenting, having fun, and finding time to be alone. When divorce tears a family apart, the family may benefit in the long run, but for the short term, everyone suffers and everyone is in pain.
Kids from infant to adult may go through many difficult changes when divorce happens. One day their world was strong and stable, but divorce can weaken the family structure. Kids are particularly subject to pain after parents divorce when there parents don’t get along. The kids’ stability and confidence are shaken when there’s tension and a lot of fighting in the home, as is often the case before and during a divorce. On the other hand, sometimes divorce can bring relief from all the tension and fighting.
Divorce is not pretty, but it does not always have to be ugly or damaging. While there are many ways to minimize the damage of divorce, there is one key element to reducing the impact on families.
The primary concern is to ensure parents can talk to each other without causing more damage. Several factors come into play in improving communication. It’s important to remember that both parents are hurting just as much as everyone else and that each parent deserves respect. For the kids’ sake, parents can make an effort to get along and to keep the kids out of the middle of the conflict. Kids need to worry about their own lives and not about whether they have to tell one parent about the mean things the other parent said. These efforts will help contribute to the long-term health of the parent-child relationship, as the kids will be a part of parents’ lives forever. Parents might also consider therapy to help process their hurt and anger, learn to let the past go, and find a way to move into a new family system.
© Copyright 2010 by Kelly Sanders, MFT, therapist in Rancho Cucamonga, California. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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