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The US laws should declare 2 types of divorces. I believe Divorce between 2 people is completely different than a divorce that involves kids. Let’s call it super-divorce. Superdivorce is two adults separating with kids dragged unwillingly into the upheaval. Legal problems, property, housing, money should not be a child’s problem. Swearing, demeaning comments, blaming the other parent is so typical in divorces. Does any child benefit from hearing “Idiot!” “Slut!” or “You’re a loser, no one could live with you.”? Adults don’t even want to hear it; but those words sear hotly into a child’s psyche.
Any separation is a hard adjustment. But the D word can be brutal. For a child it’s like looking down a long, dark tunnel knowing you have to walk it and not sure which parent will be there for you. Maybe the parents are so wrapped up in their own fighting that neither thinks of holding the child’s hand. How is a superdivorce different than just 2 adults splitting up?
Divorcing adults may be fair, generous or acrimonious and cruel. But in a superdivorce the disagreements move into accusations that stab into the relationship of the parent-child. Blame moves into shame. Many times the fighting happens over the child: where s/he lives, who foots the bill, custody and visitation. Alimony is important, but child support is critical for young growing bodies. People are loafs if they don’t pay alimony, but a dead-beat Dad is neglectful. Child payments are withheld as threats until the other parent agrees to visitation. The money causes stalement between parents. The results? Another child can’t buy shoes to play sports or put fresh food on the table. Divorce puts children in poverty.
The reasons for the divorce are often unclear to the child. If there’s an affair, or abuse, or a broken promise, these sometimes are secrets. Secrets and fantasies can be crazy-making for a child. Parents need to see a family counselor, talk to child experts, go to chat-rooms to get advice. Extra-marital affairs are more taboo in this culture than domestic violence. Often a new partner gets involved with one or both of the parents. We ask a lot of adjustments for a child whose world got divorce shattered. Abuse; new partners in the home thrust into parenting kids of divorce; lack of money can be traumatizing to the children. How many new relationships are formed ‘on the rebound.’? How fair is that to a teenager?
A Superdivorce can be positive — there can be healing results for everyone. The problem isn’t the divorce; it’s how the divorce is handled. When children are involved the moving van has to handle the packages with extra care. A superdivorce needs supercare. These bundles of joy are fragile.
We need 4 hugs a day for survival.
We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.
We need 12 hugs a day for growth.