Jamaica – My parents are getting a divorce – Who is to be blame?

GO – http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20090413/news/news5.html

My parents are getting a divorce – Who is to be blame?

Published: Monday | April 13, 2009

 

Nadisha Hunter, Gleaner Writer

 

The loving and honest relationship that Karen Willishad with her 16-year-old son soon come to an end when he learned that his parents were getting a divorce

. The teen became withdrawn and angry at everything his mother said.

 

This got his mother furious as she believed he was blaming her for the separation. But little did she know the kid was, in fact, taking the responsibility for the end of the marriage.

Attorney-at-law Marjorie Shaw-Currie has seen instances like these as marriages dissolve in the divorce court. In fact, she said these situations are not rare and, when they occur, she prescribes counselling.

“Some children don’t express the effects of the breakdown in the family directly, but are sometimes just a little withdrawn, problematic and aggressive at school,” Currie said.

Self-battering

On many occasions, she said, the children expressed the views that they could be the cause of the divorce. She said sometimes the children inflict self-battering and they become disruptive and stop communicating with their parents. This gets so bad at times that the parents themselves have to seek professional help.

“I had a matter where the father asked for counselling because the child was not interacting with him and she was being very disobedient to him,” she added.

Separation and divorce can be very painful for children. Divorce brings many changes, and changes are hard for children. They may feel their family is broken. They may wonder: ‘If my parents stop loving each other, can they stop loving me?’

Dr Karen Richards, psychologist, said parents should try to let children know that despite the disagreement between the parents, it doesn’t affect the love for them.

She advised parents to sit the children down and explain the situation in language that they will understand.

“Make it clear to them that it’s not their fault but Mommy and Daddy can’t agree, so it’s the best thing to do,” Richards told The Gleaner.

“It is also important for parents to make it clear that though they are not together, there is one thing they will unite on, and that is the love for the children.”

Parents should be vigilant for signs of the children’s feeling and, at the same time, allow them to be open about their fears, concerns, and feelings about the divorce.

Split loyalty

The psychologist said children should be given time to think about the divorce and the changes it may have brought about.

She said children take a long time to work through feelings of split loyalty, which is a normal process, so parents should not expect to have only one big discussion. Instead, talking about it as many times as possible will help.

Divorce is also confusing for them and they need to be assured that their basic needs will be met.

Some of the things that they worry about are if their parents will fix breakfast in the mornings, read books with them and tuck them in bed at night. Children also need to know that their relationship with both parents will continue.

The expert said child-care providers are expected to help children understand that the love shared between a parent and a child is special and is different from the love shared between a husband and a wife.

“Husbands and wives might get divorced, but parents are always parents. Children need to know that the love parents have for them will last,” she informed

 

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