Children can have a multitude of feelings with regard to their divorcing parents’ relationship, and the divorce itself. Just because a child doesn’t share or may even deny having any views or feelings, doesn’t mean they don’t really exist for the child. There are many reasons why a child may not share their views or feelings, but most have to do with not upsetting the parents. When I have spoken to children about their views and feelings, as well as wishes, these are just some of the things I have been told:
1. Some parents tell the kids that things will be all right. However, this is contrary to the child’s current experience. For the child in this experience, the future doesn’t exist. These kids wish that their parents just understood and keyed into how they were feeling now.
2. Some kids tell their parents that they should divorce. Parents take this as an authentic view of the child’s feelings. However, many children have told me that they didn’t really feel that way. They were discouraged and felt they had to support what the parent wanted. Kids in these situations really wished that their parents changed behaviour and learned to get along to stay together.
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3. While some separating parents no longer respect the other parent’s relationship with the child, children typically seek to have a loving relationship with both parents. Kids in these situations feel stuck in the middle. Children have told me that they secretly wished that if their parents couldn’t stay together, that they at least lived close by so visits could occur more regularly and naturally.
Please note, these are children’s secret wishes and don’t necessarily reflect issues or concerns of parental neglect, abuse or addictions. It speaks to every child’s need to feel loved by both parents.