Morrisa Drobnick, LCSW, staff writer and advice columnist of “KIDS Magazine” answers questions about children and divorce.
Q: My husband and I have been in a bad marriage for years. We have discussed divorce many times. We have two children. We try to be civil with each other, but often our anger flares up. At this point, we are staying together only for the kids. Are we doing the best thing? R.D. Paramus.
A: Dear R.D. You didn’t mention if therapy for your relationship had been attempted. If not, I always recommend therapy for couples and especially therapy to aid with the divorce decision. Indeed, divorce may be the only rational solution to a bad marriage. Evidence shows that children exposed to open conflict where parents terrorize, or strike one another, avoid each other, or are emotionally distant from one another are not well-adjusted. Reduce your post-divorce anger. Show your children that their parents can effectively guide them. Allow your children to maintain a close relationship to both parents. This will lead to a successful transition for your family.
Q: My parents are getting a divorce. I’m not sure how I feel. My parents are often angry. When I talk to my mom, she cries. When I go to my dad, he says, “Everything will be o.k.” I’m confused. C.W., Westwood.
A: Dear C.W. Confusion may be setting in because your feelings about divorce are changing as time passes. After you get over the shock of hearing the news, you may even be relieved. If your parents have been arguing a lot, it will be less tense in the house. Everybody is different, but most kids also go through a time of being angry. Don’t pretend things are o.k. if they’re not. It’s not your job to cheer everybody up. Find someone to talk to. If you have a friend whose parents are divorced; talk to them. Other relatives like grandparents, aunts, uncles can be helpful. You might talk to someone outside your family like a teacher, school counselor, club leader, or a parent of a friend. If they can’t help you, they will be able to suggest someone who can.