Children often have a difficult time understanding why their parents no longer want to be together. In some cases, they may believe that it’s their fault that their parents argue or don’t want to be in a relationship any longer, especially if the child has problems in school or problematic behaviors.
Many parents don’t consider that their children are blaming themselves, but lots of kids do. As a result, they may be sad, depressed or anxious when around their parents. They may have sudden changes in behavior or other odd reactions that leave their parents wondering what’s suddenly causing so much of a change.
If that sounds like your situation, it’s important that you sit down with your child or children and discuss the divorce in an age-appropriate way, making sure to state directly that it is not their fault. Even if your divorce does have something to do with differences in how you want to raise your child or children, there is no reason for your child to believe that they are a burden on your relationship.
What should you do if your child says that they think your divorce is their fault?
It can certainly be a devastating blow to find out that your child is carrying such a heavy burden. You need to sit down together with your estranged spouse and your child if possible. You and your spouse need to explain to your child that they are not at fault for any issues with your relationship. You and your spouse are adults, and any issues you have are yours, not a child’s, to deal with.
Your attorney can give you more information on mediation, family counseling and other helpful processes that your child may benefit from if this is a concern during your divorce.