Submitted by: Cathy Meyer
A friend sent me a handout from Oregon about the effects of divorce on children. If you’ve been through a divorce I’m sure you’ve taken the time to read articles about children and divorce in an attempt to help you help your child adjust.
We put a lot of thought and consideration into how our children are feeling and dealing once the decision to divorce is made. The decision to divorce is not something our children participate in though, there is no consideration given to their opinion when it comes to whether or not to split the family up.
I find it interesting that the ones who will be impacted the most have no say in the decision making process. Divorce laws do not take into consideration the opinions of children. Parents seem to believe that their relationship and whether it continues is separate from their relationship with their children. Parents fail to understand that their relation encompasses their children, is in fact the very foundation of their children’s security.
So, why is it children don’t get a vote when the decision to divorce is being discussed or decided? Should a father be allowed to walk away from his family with no legal consequence when it can be proven doing so damages children and has long lasting negative consequences?
Should a mother who is no longer “happy” have the right to leave her marriage, pursue her happiness at the expensive of her children’s well-being without first being required to take into consideration her children’s happiness?
Does it not make sense that the most important product of a marriage…children should not have legal rights, laws that give them power or say so when it comes to whether or not their family remains intact or not?
Consider these responses by teenagers when asked about divorce before you form an opinion on the subject and then share your opinion on the subject.
Why don’t parents ask the kids?
“Because they don’t care about their opinion, or it doesn’t effect their progress on working on their problems. Parents can get away with divorce. Kids can’t get away with anything.”
Why do parents divorce?
“Because when you give them the ability to divorce they just abuse it.”
Don’t parents care?
If the parents say “We want to get a divorce.” And the kids say “We shall be sad.” The parents don’t say “O.K., we’ll stay together.” That never happens. That’s what comedians are.
How did your parents divorce make you feel?
“Like I have no effect. Like I’m a bystander. Like they know how I feel, but they don’t care.”
How do you feel about your parents?
“My opinion is lower because I thought they would be more mature and solve their problems. They didn’t even ask what it would do to me.”
What do you think parents need to know?
“I just think they deserve to suffer a lot just to know what it’s like.”
- Were your children part of the decision making process before your divorce?
- Do you feel a child’s opinion should be considered when deciding to divorce?
- How would your child answer the above questions?