Anger Training: Preparing Child for Divorce
Parenting: Consider your Children’s Feelings when You and Spouse Separate
Imagine being a 7- year old child and dealing with the following: Daddy is gone. Mommy did not explain this to me. She didn’t tell me Daddy was leaving. Daddy did not tell me he was leaving, and now he is not calling or speaking to me. He used to take me to baseball practice on Sundays, and now Mom has to take me. I like going with Daddy better, but I can’t hurt Mommy’s feelings because I know she is sad.
All she does is complain about bills. I don’t want to say anything because she may get mad at me, and I don’t want her to be mad at me. The other day she told me I look just like my Daddy. Is that good or bad? I thought it was a nice thing before, but her face looked mean when she said it this time.
Today my teacher asked the class to draw a picture of family. I don’t know what to draw. Before when Daddy lived at home, family was mommy, daddy and me. Now, is it just mom and me? I don’t know if I should tell the teacher thatDaddy doesn’t live with us anymore. Maybe not, because Mommy may get upset. Mommy hasn’t been the same since Daddy left. She was so happy. She would bake cookies with me and tickle me and tell me she loved me but now she doesn’t say anything. She doesn’t even want to bake cookies.
And Daddy, where is he? Did I do something wrong to him? Is he mad at me, too? I did all my chores. I told him I love him. I got all A’s on my tests. I didn’t get in trouble at school- what did I do? Is it all my fault? And is anyone going to ask me how I feel? I’m sad, too. Daddy was supposed to be here when I woke up this morning. He didn’t even say goodbye.
Should I tell my friends at school that Daddy left? Nah, maybe they will laugh at me because all of them have their daddies. What’s going to happen now? Am I ever going to see Daddy again?
Mommy and Daddy think I didn’t see them fighting all the time. I always acted like I was sleeping but I heard them. Daddy didn’t hit Mommy.He just yelled real loud. I was scared. I wish I would have done something. Then maybe Daddy would be here now. But why did he leave? Does this mean no more Christmas parties and birthday parties?
I want to ask Mommy but I have to be very quiet because she is sad right now. I think I saw her crying in her room but she didn’t say anything. All I want to know is that Daddy is coming back home. Is he going to pick me up from school tomorrow? Maybe he will come and surprise me with my favorite candies like he always did. I’m feeling pretty sad the more I think about it.
But I think Daddy will come back. I will just go to sleep and hope that when I wake up tomorrow he is here.
This story was composed of bits and pieces of conversations with children in the middle of a divorce battle. The story, although very short, covers a lot of issues that children face daily when parents separate. This article depicts confusion, emotions, and feelings of isolation and betrayal. As you read it, think about what these parents could have done to address the child’s concerns. Think about what the child should know and how that will help the child adjust. This story may not apply to every child’s situation but there are underlying resemblances on the themes.