Have your children taken sides after your divorce?
It is not uncommon for children, including adult children, to take sides during and after a divorce. There are times when it is obvious that one parent or the other has created problems that a marriage cannot overcome such as physical or verbal abuse and drug or alcohol addiction. More often than not though, it is a combination of issues created by both parents that cause the divorce. Over time, what started out as small issues escalate to a point that neither spouse can overcome them. Then the marriage gets to a point where one or both spouses are no longer willing to try to fix the problems. Once a marriage has reached this point it is almost impossible for the couple to stay married.
This is usually when one spouse asks for a divorce. It is also the time when children most often start to take sides. It is usually the parent that asks for the divorce that is blamed by the children. Children see the parent that files for divorce as the one that gave up and the reason the family is breaking apart. Even though both spouses/parents contribute to the failure of the marriage, it is usually only one parent that gets blamed.
It is usually difficult for children to see the reality that both parents contribute to a divorce. My parents divorced when I was relatively young. At the time, I blamed my father for our family’s problems. As I matured though, I came to realize that my mother also played a roll in those problems.
There are some issues that can and should be explained to children in an effort to help them understand the reasons that Mom and Dad are no longer together. However, there is a fine line that should not be crossed in this explanation. You should NEVER disparage your ex in explaining the reasons for your divorce. If you cannot provide an explanation without making your ex look bad, then, in my opinion, it is better to say nothing at all. In a few instances, you may need to speak out against your ex-spouse if they are telling your children inaccurate information or telling outright lies. Other than that, it is best to say little that would make your ex look bad.
It is difficult to have children blame you for a divorce. It puts a strain on any parent/child relationship. Most of the time though it is better to accept the blame, especially when children are young, than to try to defend yourself and your actions. As your children become adults, you can reveal more, but still, there is only so much they need to know. Your divorce is, or should be, a private issue between you and your ex. Love your children the best that you know how. Love is the most important thing that you can give them. Hopefully your children will come to see, just as I did, that it took two to make a marriage and it took two to break a marriage.