Child-Centered Divorce: Learning from the mistakes of others

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By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

Over the years there have been endless studies on the effects of
divorce on parents and children. Some of the results are
controversial. Others seem to be universally accepted as relevant
and real. Here are a few of my perceptions from studies on children
who experience divorce that I believe all of us, as parents, should
take to heart.

·         Not surprisingly, the first two years of divorce are the most
difficult. In some cases it takes an average of three to five years
to really “work through” and resolve many of the issues and
emotions that come to the surface. For some, the effects of divorce
last many additional years — or even a lifetime — if not dealt
with appropriately. Taking steps toward a child-centered divorce
can dramatically impact the negative effects of divorce on all
members of the family. It will help everyone to move through this
time rather than merely letting “time heal all wounds.”

·         Preschoolers tend to be more frightened and anxious, but seem to
adjust better than older children in the long run. Their biggest
fear is of abandonment. Stressing security and a continuation of
family routines is very helpful for them. Older children understand
more, but do not have adequate coping skills and therefore seem to
have more long-term problems. This is often because they remember
life before the divorce and so experience a greater change of life
patterns and dwell more on comparisons between the past and
present. Stressing the love both parents have for the child — and
that that love will continue forever is vitally important whenever

·         Children who may have witnessed a troubled marriage and family life
may greatly benefit from observing their parents now working out a
reasonable and respectful post-divorce arrangement. This positive
and mature behavior will affect a child’s adjustment more than any
other factor.   

·         It is never too late to create a child-centered divorce, even if
you started on the wrong track. Every step you take toward focusing
on your children’s emotional, psychological and physical needs as
they move through the months and years post-divorce, will be a step
toward modeling for them how loving, compassionate, and caring
parents respond to their children’s needs. I encourage you to make
your relationship with your children’s other parent as respectful
and considerate as you can — for the sake of your children.                   

* * * *

Rosalind Sedacca’s new ebook How Do I Tell the Kids about the
Divorce? can be found at She can
be reached at Her free articles
and ezine are available at

Copyright Rosalind Sedacca 2007




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