How Do Children See Divorce and the Pain Behind It?

No child should have to see their parents divorced and live with the consequences. That is why a lot of the issues that bring it about are hidden from them. They may not know how the violence starts, or why the arguments are so persistent. Likewise, they may never pick up on the pain that one or both parents are going through. Only when it happens in front of them will they know of the physical and verbal abuse that occurs.

Is it wrong, therefore, to protect children from these things? Wouldn’t it be better to be aware of them in order to form a judgment for themselves? On the other hand, do parents keep these things to themselves for fear of a child talking about it with others?

Even that does not seem a logical explanation. Surely a child has a right to know what is causing the break-up of his or her home. Isn’t it in their interest to be able to decide who is right or wrong?

Having been through a divorce and working overtime to keep the reasons to myself I deprived my children of their right to know. Things crop up in their later years, however, and it will be the mother who gets the blame for bad things that happened in the past. It is also likely that the father will down-play the mother and cause a rift between her and the children in order to get back at her for leaving him.

In Australia in recent years we have seen fathers do some outrageous acts in revenge of this nature. One man threw his five-year-old daughter over a bridge in Melbourne on the way to returning his children to their mother after a week-end visit. It was to have been the little girl’s first day at school.

Another father drove a car with his three children into a lake and killed them while taking them back to their mother. He then rang her and told her the kids were dead.

Over and again the horrors of divorce and revenge are played out. A loving parent will always stand by their offspring and protect them. But there are some things that they don’t need protection from. It is my opinion that the reasons for the divorce and broken home is one of them.

Perhaps if I had never had the experience of it and did not have a grown up son accusing me of not loving him enough because he had a bad haircut in a school photo, this would not bother me. But it does because there is no way now that he can see my point of view or know of the immense load placed on me at the time. Maybe one day he will understand.