If You've Been Separated or Divorced

"When there's trouble at home you feel very bad," writes a fourteen-year-old. "Sometimes it starts over the mirror or bobby pins or anything you want first but have to wait for." These are little troubles. But there are bigger ones too.

"Some people have very big arguments over big things, like separations or things to do with court. If they have families they sow a little seed called grief and with their quarreling they help it grow and the family is a family no more but a bunch of people that hate each other." Children sense and are upset by the emotional divorce which always precedes the actual separation. The legal divorce comes as a culmination. Meanwhile the little seed called grief has inevitably grown very big. However, if the situation is properly handled, the child's grief can be decreased.

If the trouble started much earlier when your child was small, he may have wondered secretly about it and imagined many things in his childish mind. Very likely he denied vigorously, and still does, that he was worried. But underneath he was bothered nonetheless.

If the separation happened later in his childhood, the act of his parents' separating may have thrown him back into wonderings belonging to an earlier time in his development.

It is almost always hard for children to understand why their parents must separate. What they don't know of fact, they supply with fiction. And their fiction usually springs from things fantasied far in the past.

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