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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
Resolving issues from your past that block your future

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Children of Divorce

January 2001

 

The unfortunate reality today is that not all marriages make it to “…and they lived happily ever after.” As traumatic as divorce is for the adults involved, it is even more traumatic for the children. I am not a proponent of staying in a bad marriage for the sake of the children. When we stay in bad marriages, we are modeling for our children how to have a dysfunctional relationship. If we are unable to improve the relationship, and I do believe that you need to try every avenue before deciding divorce is the answer, then you need to show your child how to lead a healthy life with a happy relationship. Of course, as you increase your happiness, you will increase your child’s as well.

 

But we need to be sure that we are not adding to the trauma that our children are going through. It is almost a laughable request to ask two people who could not get along well enough to stay living together, to suddenly find a way to get along well enough to raise a child together. But that is exactly what your child needs. It does not matter if you think your ex is a scum-bucket. That scum-bucket is still the parent of your child. Your child loves your ex and does not need to hear the put-downs. It can be catastrophic in the development of your child.

 

Please do not ask your child to deliver messages to your ex. This is not the job of a child. Work on finding enough communication to leave your child out of it. If you need to find a third party to help you do this, then find someone. Do not put your child in the middle.

 

Childhood is a special time. It should be a time of innocence and playfulness, not anger and fear. Let’s work together to protect our children. It is important.

 

Michelle

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