What Is Divorce?
Divorce is when 2 people decide they no longer want to live together. There are many reasons for this but it is never because of the children. Chances are the parents stayed together as long as they did because they both love their kids and thought it best for them.
It is a product of the way society is structured today where 2 people, who once felt strongly for each other and believed in the same things grow apart. They have spent long periods of time away from each other and have been guided by different influences.
This does not make one or the other a bad person just that they are now different and find themselves arguing about issues every day. Compromise usually gives way to frustration and the bad feelings they get from fighting stay with the people long after the reason for fighting is forgotten.
When this has been happening for a long time everybody in the house can feel the tension and if they can't work their way through the problem it can be the best thing for everyone if they no longer live together and one or both decide to separate.
In an ideal situation the parents will agree on separation and try to reduce the impact on the children but it does not always work that way. It is a very emotional time for parents and sometimes the impact on the children is not prioritised and children can become hurt and confused.
This does not mean they don't love you, in fact the children are likely to be the topic of much conflict as both parent want to spend as much time with you as possible and sometimes they have to go to the family court to have their problems resolved.
The family court does not decide right or wrong like a criminal court it tries to do what it considers fair under accepted guidelines. It also must decide what will happen with the children if the parents can't agree and it will do so with the best interest of the children in mind. Just what is in the best interest of the children has been the subject of much debate but the courts must use the information before them combined with recommendations from child experts.
So how should you feel about divorce?
Some children don't want their parents to divorce and others think it best if it will stop the fighting, others have mixed feelings depending on the child and the situation. Your feelings are relevant and important and you should be heard. If you don't feel that you are being listen to it may be helpful to speak to an independent person who understands what your going through such as a councillor.
It is normal for a child of a divorcing couple to live with one of their parents usually because that parent has spent more time with the child while the other has spent more time working to pay bills and put food on the table and make sure you have what you need. This does not mean one parent loves you more or is more important in your life it is just the way families are structured.
The relationship between you and a non-resident parent (the parent not living with you) can become harder to maintain in this situation and both you and they must be aware of this. A non-resident parent needs to understand that you are raised by the standards of the residing parent and it can be difficult to adapt to the standards of the other parent especially if you are only there 2 days a fortnight which is a common scenario. They must also be aware that little things can make a big difference such as disciplining you over things that might be acceptable at the other parents place and the sleeping arrangements and dinner times and types of food etc. this is not to say they shouldn't express their standards as it is important for you to understand the world from their perspective but it can make it uncomfortable for you if it is over-stressed and you find yourself trying to live by 2 sets of standards depending on where you are at the time.
It is also important that they use the time with you wisely. They should talk to you and you to them find out how each other has been fairing since you were last together. If there is something you want to do when you're with them you should let them know as soon as possible so they can plan around it. They might have ideas for the time together and they should let you know as well. If you have brothers and or sisters make sure you get one-on-one time with the non-resident parent, as this can be difficult if you are only with them for a short time. You should also be mindful of you siblings need for this time with them as well.
It all sound more confusing than it is and don't let yourself get too worried about it.
Remember both parents love you and want what is best for you even if they can't agree on what that is. Make the most of your time with both parents, as nobody will love you as much as they do and their love is unconditional and is forever.
The divorce is not your fault and it doesn't make one parent better than the other. Just as it is not your fault, neither can you get them back together. It is between them and, although you are very much involved, it is only they that can resolve it. It is normal to feel fear, anger, helplessness and sorrow, it is a big change in your life at a time when you are not prepared for it but things do get better. You will settle into your new routines and there are many successful people in life who have come from this situation.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.