Based on my personal experience, and what I’ve seen from others who also experienced divorce or parental separation, it is my belief that children of divorce aren’t an overnight curable illness, but a process that lasts a lifetime. Some divorce or separation is necessary as to the abuse, drugs, and other harmful acts within the home. Regardless the reason for separation, the affected child never reaches their full potential. I too experienced parental separation at the age of 4 years old. I can remember not seeing my dad for days, and then weeks, to now it’s been over 5 years since I have seen or even spoken to him. At the age of 9 is when I can remember to question and ask about why my father is no longer in the picture. Some of the thoughts that would arise were, “Is it me?” Was I the cause of their separation?” He never assured me that he loved me or cared about me during those most important years. He never came to my football games to encourage me to push hard. When I look at my peers family structure, they all had a father there to support them and encourage them during those times. It never dawned on me that they may have questioned where my father was. Divorce is a personal choice made by each parent for their own best interest and not the child’s. When a family splits apart it automatically sends signals to the child that one of the parents no longer cares or values them. According to Kelly and Emery (2003) report that on average, nonresidential fathers see their children only 4 times per month following divorce and about 20% of children have no contact with their fathers 2-3 years after divorce. In contrast, non-residential mothers visit their children more frequently and are less likely to cease contact.
As I reflect and think back to the times of feeling alone, nothing can equate to the desire of having a father figure there. My biggest challenges were to compensate for the absence of my father to make me feel valued. Statistics show that children of similar circumstances utilize money, drugs, and promiscuity to fulfill these voids and needs. Children that live in intact families often experience these as well but those who are of a divorce guarantee these experiences.
Every child must have a balance of love and discipline from both mother and father. A separation reduces their discipline and forces the parent to avoid conflict to focus more on the immediate quality that’s being omitted from the child’s life. Those moments are needed as well in a child’s life. The absent parent never has to tell the child to turn off the TV and do homework, get up for school, because he/she isn’t there on school nights.
So much of life’s lessons has been lost and skills that would have been learned are no longer apart of the blueprint. School doesn’t teach these one-on-one coruses and its too late once in college to learn the basics of life. A mother and father exposes the child to those things that give them a balanced life. Without the whole family there are holes in the basics to be learned.
According to (Kidshealth 2015) As soon as you’re certain of your plans, talk to your kids about your decision to live apart. Although there’s no easy way to break the news, if possible have both parents there for this conversation. It’s important to try to leave feelings of anger, guilt, or blame out of it. Practice how you’re going to manage telling your kids so you don’t become upset or angry during the talk. Involving the child is key to helping them adjust to all the changes that will affect them during the separation process. When my parents separated I lived with my mother who wore the hat of both during my years with her. I wasn’t a part of the process therefore it left many questions unanswered. Children don’t need all the information but to prepare them for the upcoming changes in their lives is vital.. All that’s needed to be understood is that there are changes going to be made and that it won’t affect the relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent. Exposure to both physical and mental illnesses originate in the traumatic loss of both parents through separation or divorce.