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How Boys & Girls Handle Divorce

13 Dec

Each of us living as divorced parents have seen our children cope with the separation in their own unique ways. It should go without saying that no matter how much love and support and reassurance you offer your children, this isn’t going to be easy for them. But each child is going to react differently and I think it’s important to recognize that fact and do your share of reading on the subject to equip yourself as much as you can to help them through the transition and even years into the divorce.

One thing I’ve read in multiple publications is that boys tend to deal with divorce differently than girls. I have found it interesting that my girls were the first to try and set me up on Match.com while my son worked hard to get my ex and me back together. There are all kinds of theories on this subject, but reading comments from different readers I came upon one that really hit me. He said that as males, we tend to612px-Sapioheterosexuality_Symbol.svg_want to fix things. I thought back to my marriage and a flurry of memories of my wife saying, “I’m not asking you to fix anything I just want to tell you about what happened. You don’t need to act, just listen.” When My ex-wife would come to me with problems, my first inclination was to fix the problem she was sharing with me. So when I read this comment I was like, “well of course!”

Even if a young man knows that he was not at all responsible or to blame for a divorce, he’ll very likely feel some sense of failure in not being able to fix it. To him mommy and daddy’s relationship is broken. And his first tendency may be to want to fix it. If you’re working together as co-parents and generally get along in front of your kids this is going to be even more true since to him, it probably won’t take much to get mommy and daddy back on track.

Another great comment I read dealt with how we as parents handle the divorce ourselves. Are we acting as the victim? Or do we acknowledge and move on as strong, healthy adults? What are our children seeing when they see us deal with our ex or being a single parent? What do they see and hear? I think it’s important to recognize that every sight and sound those little eyes and ears are taking in has an impact. They’re paying very close attention and how they handle the divorce and being a child of divorce may very well depend on how you yourself handle it.

It’s easy to play the victim sometimes. It’s easy to shout out a negative. But is that really what our children need? Or do they need us to acknowledge and move on as strong independent adults? Pay close attention to your children. They will provide you all kinds of clues as to what they need from you. It’s simply up to you to tune in and provide them with a sense of security and knowledge that no matter what, both you and their mom will be there for them 100%.

Would love to hear your take on this subject.

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8 Comments

Posted by on December 13, 2014 in Divorce, Talking To Kids

 

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8 responses to “How Boys & Girls Handle Divorce

  1. Nephila

    December 14, 2014 at 1:39 am

    As the child of separation I think the most important thing to me has been a sense of justice. Just because you have 50% of the genes doesn’t make you equal. If there was cheating or abuse then children need to see there is justice. They don’t need to be duped into loyalty to a liar, cheat, abuser. My mother never said a word against my father, leaving me for 10 years to adore him and want them back together. I eventually worked out he was a liar in my own time. When I found out he had been a serial cheat I felt duped for those 10 years. What’s best for the children is not always to be told lies to keep them loving both parents. Sometimes it’s best to teach them good judgement.

     
    • billfilipiak

      December 14, 2014 at 10:10 am

      First let me say I believe it depends on the age of the child and the nature of the negative. But I don’t know that I necessarily agree with you 100% on this one Nephila. My initial reaction was that, what happened between your mom and dad was between your mom and dad. Meaning; I think a child deserves a chance to develop a relationship with their parent without a scewed perspective. Kids aren’t dumb. They eventually see people for who they are as you did with your father. I personally admire your mother for giving you a chance to see the positives in your father before discovering the negative. It takes a strong and centered woman to do that. Your father screwed up and was given an opportunity to make right by you. How he handled that was his choice. But your relationship with your dad is unique to you and your father. And your mom obviously taught you good judgement as you were eventually able to see your dad for what he is. I believe there are some positives things in that.

       
      • Nephila

        December 14, 2014 at 1:38 pm

        I disagree. We would not say that the childs relationship was independent of any other abuse of the mother, say she was beaten or something else. No. A person who lies and cheats on their partner does not deserve to have their child love them and its not best for the child IMO. The evidence is pretty damning that the children of cheats end up cheating or being cheated on because they take on the flaws or they marry someone who is similar. Now, i tried hard as hell not to! But i did marry someone with some of the charm my father fooled me with those 10 years. If i had never had that experience would i have? Would i have been so susceptible to charm? Or was it seeing my mother abandoned that made me want anything other than aloneness? Either way i think having anything to do with him was bad for me. I wish i had been told he was dead.

         
      • billfilipiak

        December 14, 2014 at 1:40 pm

        Interesting and some strong points. The severity of your situation would definitely weigh in favor of your argument.

         
  2. mjay227

    December 14, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    I don’t really understand how divorce affects children so badly…maybe the living situation but anything beyond that makes no sense to me….my mom n dad broke up after I was 2 yrs old n it never affected me

     
    • billfilipiak

      December 14, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      I truly believe it depends on how the parents handle it and the circumstances of the divorce. Child ages, maturity of the parents, time with each parent etc. can all affect how a child reacts. I think each kid will react differently as well. Some may be more sensitive to it than others. I think you’re fortunate to have come out of it so strong. I’ve heard from many who weren’t so lucky. But many of their personal experiences were much more dramatic in nature all the way around. It’s part of the reason for this blog. To emphasize the importance and value of a positive approach to a divorce. I truly believe it makes a huge difference.

      This is turning into a great thread. Thank you for everyone’s responses.

       
  3. Ansley

    December 27, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    This is really interesting and makes good common sense. Young men do tend to take on blame and want to fix things. Often young women are emotional but then look to the future along with the inevitable changes. Parents do need to avoid the awful blame game and handle divorce with maturity to help their children get through the rough moments.

     
  4. John Greene

    December 30, 2014 at 11:11 am

    It is unfortunate when one or both people start to assume the stance of a victim. This has a negative impact on the children and causes more confusion. We have to be strong and positive to help the children get through the divorce with fewer emotional scars.

     

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