When a boat is sinking, all the passengers are given life preservers.
When a marriage comes to an end, a similar state of emergency exists, but no
one hands you a life preserver. You and your children are on your own,
thrashing about, trying hard to survive. Many parents in this situation feel like
helpless, frightened children themselves, wishing someone or something would
save them. Imagine, then, how devastated and powerless children feel. A
separation and divorce is a shocking experience for them, for their very
existence depends on their parents. They sustain tremendous losses and
experience great pain, during, and after divorce. This crisis and tragedy of
divorce is that this time, when parents are usually least able to help or even
think about helping, is when children need their help most of all (Bienfeld,1). The
effects of divorce on children can be devastating.
To children, divorce does not mean the second chance that it so often
means to one or both parents. To children it is the loss of their family - the entity
that provides them with support, stability, security, and continuity in an often
unpredictable world (Bienenfeld, 92). Children assume that their family is a given
and that their parents are permanent. Studies uniformly find that divorce is a jolt
to most children. Even youngsters that have lived in tense, conflict-ridden home
for many years seldom think of divorce as a remedy for unhappiness; the remedy
would be for parents to stop fighting (92). When suddenly divorce becomes
reality, the assumptions children have accepted as givens and the structure they
have relied on crumble, they feel not only vulnerable but powerless to have any
influence on a situation the profoundly impacts their lives.
During a divorce children's feelings become extremely confused. Many
children feel intensely rejected, perceiving that the parent is leaving them as w...
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