You are in the midst of the divorce, trying to keep up the
routines of school and work. Your soon to be ex calls and there is a vein
throbbing in your forehead from frustration. Even while you keep your cool, in
the back seat sits your kid, watching your every move. Sure they look at their
iPad, pretending to be oblivious, but internally they are wondering about what
is going on.
Children sense the tension in a marriage. Research has shown
this to be true for infants as well. What is worse is when a parent slanders
the other parent in front of the child. Part of childhood is the need to keep
their parent in an ideal world. But every time one parent challenges that
ideal, the child becomes overwhelmed, burdened, and stressed. They don’t know
what to believe. I have seen kids standing by, watching their entire reality
crumble. And the stress of this tragedy manifests itself through the child
through their schoolwork, their friendships, their relationship with their
siblings and with you.
The emotions between you and your partner are simply
that … between you and your partner. Your child has a different relationship
with their parent than you have with your partner. It is important to respect
that boundary and understand that while you think your child doesn’t notice,
they do. They need to be cared for through this process as well. They want to
love both of you. Don’t make them take sides.