CHILDREN AND DIVORCE. LET’S TALK.
My husband and I were having a huge fight not long ago, complete with slammed doors, bloody oaths and a stand off with a kitchen broom.
Not nice. It was hideous to be in the same house as us.
My 14 year-old son sidled up to me when the dust had settled and said: “Please Mum, don’t get divorced from Dad.”
His younger sister was soon by his side and said: “Yeah. He’s a good father and you’re our good mother. We need you both.”
“Pleeeease stay together,” they implored.
Then they both did a big-eyed impersonation of the cat in Shrek.
Whenever I feel like calling it quits, (and after almost 19 years together on this rollercoaster, I admit there are times when we’ve both wanted to get off, ) I remember their heartfelt plea. It gives me the push when I need it to love (and fight) for another day, week and year and happily our relationship endures.
I think that having Mum and Dad together is one of the best gifts I can give my kids and I’m sure that most parents feel the same. When there are kids involved, breaking up is extremely distressing.
So when I hear of a couple divorcing I always think it’s sad and go to the age of the children.
This morning comes the news that Russell Crowe and his wife Danielle Spencer are separating after 9 years of marriage and I read that their two sons are 8 and 9.
My own parents separated when I was ten and had three younger siblings. Of course we all survived and, eventually, thrived.
But I’m wondering just what is the worth of a stable marriage to children?
It’s routine around here to hear that sleepovers will be at the mother’s house or the father’s house, depending who has custody that weekend.
The kids all seem to take it in their stride, but studies say it is a huge, watershed moment in the lives of children. Witnessing the loss of love between parents is painful. Life is never the same again. Psychologists say that for younger children it can trigger a regression to an earlier phase of dependency; for adolescents it may fast-track rebellion and independence.
For mothers and fathers, this is the most challenging phase of parenting.
So, let’s talk about kids and the impact of divorce.
Did you stay together for the sake of the children?
What was it that made you finally think the children would be better off if you separated?
What’s your advice for parents about to take this momentous decision?
And as a child of divorced parents, what impact has their separation had on your life?