Have you ruined your children's lives when you get divorced?
Can Single parenting work?
A survey of 18,244 single parent home students found
that such single parent children were almost twice as likely to drop out of
school and are eight times as likely to be expelled.
Another survey found that boys with no father at
home were four times as likely to drop out of school, and six times as
likely to have a juvenile court experience and eight times more likely to
The root problem may not be
exactly as the surveys personnel concluded.
First of all,
in my opinion, parents with problem children are
more likely to divorce.
Often the discord in the marriage relationship is over
discipline of the children.
So the delinquent child may not be the
result of the divorce, quite the other way around.
may, in fact, be because of the delinquent child or over
disagreement over methods of discipline.
This moves more delinquent children over to the
'broken home' single parenting side.
The second matter is
One Study showed income in two parent homes is over
double that of single parent homes. The economically deprived child
is more likely to feel he needs to go to work to get things his family
and himself are being denied, and hence be more likely to drop out of
school. He may be much more likely to steal to bring filling
his needs up to the standards of his peers, hence, more juvenile court
Dr. Ferson in a San Francisco survey found
that at age 24 children of single parent homes were more self reliant
and succeeding in life better than those from the traditional two parent
Pike your children are going to be okay according to Ferson's study.
Dr. Ferson states it is unacceptable to the media to run statistics
that show children winding up better.
For example, he said a study in
New York that said 26% of divorced children were worse in school because of
The press did not run the other part of the same
survey that showed 28% of the children were doing better in school as a
result of the divorce.
negative statistic appeared. The surveys quoted in the start of
this article did not even bother to check how many were doing far better in
school as a result of the divorce.
Our observation is that
parents that are adjusting well to the divorce have children that are
adjusting well to the divorce. Basically a
mirror particularly of the custodial parent.
We say concentrate on getting the parents in a 'good place' and the
children will not be far behind.
If the parents are a mess as a result of the divorce so are the
Children are able to bounce with calamities;
is the parents who go "splat".
Children go through almost the same pain
and process as the divorced parents.
The parents say to the children, are you
upset; you didn't get divorced!
children feel as divorced as the parents, going through most of the
same emotional stages over what is essentially a loss of a parent and
family as it was.
The custodial parent is out
scratching to make ends meet financially and has less time to spend with
Yet their support system of people greatly
diminishes at a difficult time.
are so tied up in their own emotional needs as a result of the divorce,
they fail to assist their children through an emotionally trying
The relative network of Aunts, Uncles,
Grandparents, Cousins and such contact is greatly diminished as a
result of the divorce.
Outside activities are diminished
(such as going to camp in the summer) are reduced because of the
financial pinch of divorce.
One of the
basic needs of a child is to be able to talk about what is happening
Yet the parents get so upset and are so
hyper about their own divorce reaction, the child feels he or she cannot
safely talk about his or her own feelings about the divorce without
upsetting or overburdening a parent already near the breaking point.
Sometimes the parent is unloading on the the children, wanting them to
take sides or act as a therapist. So the child trys to avoid talking
about it with the parent.
is bottled up emotions that pop out as other symptoms.
have discovered that many parents going through divorce cannot read and
absorb anything from a book at certain stages of divorce.
goes through the same stages and your child may be also so involved in
processing the divorce that for a period nothing comes off of or is retained
off a printed page.
This stage does not last usually for
more than a few weeks, (it may start anytime up to three months after Divorce)
yet if you are a student, it can be devastating to your grades.
Another basic need of children is recognition and
Extra recognition and attention will help a child cope
with any traumatic life adjustments. Yet, just at a very trying time
(parent's divorce) they lose much of the attention they had.
Transactional Analysis people (T.A.) call these units of attention
'strokes'. Two children of the same divorcing parents may not fare equally well
because of this.
Let us say, for example, one child (usually the boy) was getting
80% of his attention and good feelings about himself from his father,
10% from his mother, and 10% from others.
The daughter was
getting 50% from her mother, 20% from the father, and 30% from others.
The father's leaving creates a great deficiency,
particularly when the boy's mother (who should be giving him extra
attention) stops giving even her usual attention because of her own
needs of the divorce process.
Since the child needs
strokes (attention) to survive, he will
try unusually good behavior.
If that does not get the badly needed attention,
again, usually because the parents are all tied up in their own
emotional mess, the child will discover he gets the needed attention
by bad or weird behavior (acting up).
If this keeps up, the child becomes conditioned to bad behavior.
To keep your divorce from having an adverse affect on your children, we
have found doing the following will get them back to normal or even better
1. Get your own act together (Most important!)
2. Let the children know positively
a. They did not cause the divorce in any way. It is not their fault.
b. There was nothing they could have done to have kept you together.
c. There is nothing they can do to put you back together.
d. They should not try or feel required to take over the missing
parent's role or job? They should continue just being 'kids.'
e. They are going to have to make some 'standard of living'
f. Their parents will never divorce them; parental love is different
than husband/wife love and always continues.
Personally give them more attention,
especially for doing good things.
Try to make little notice (ignore) of bad things
(do not reward bad) with attention.
Get an aunt, uncle, big sister, big brother, or anyone such
as Boy Scout leaders, etc. to give them attention and a chance to
'talk out' what is going on in their lives.
Set definite rules for them to live by.
This is like guard rails on a bridge. You
seldom run into them but knowing they're there makes it easier to
responsibilities and the size of their restrictions as rapidly
as they show they can handle the responsibility and freedom.
Explain that when you start going out and dating that you have
needs just like kids do. They need to be with other kids to play
and you need time to be with other adults to play.
certain times to be with other kids; this section of time is set
aside for you to be with other adults.
Explain that a new person in your life shares an adult love that
has nothing to do with your loving your children any less.
They are not competing, these are two different things.
Plus they gain a new adult in their life, too.
They should know that when newly divorced, you are
going to be upset a lot and not act the way you should all the
They need to be asked.......
to be much more tolerant.......and understanding......
of both parents, right now.........
...... and for a while,
you...both will likely be a little wierd because of the divorce.
They need to be told this turmoil is temporary
because it all gets much better soon.
more on "Your Kids and Dating Again
Part 2 of 3
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