OVERVIEW OF THE FAMILY AND THE DIVORCE PROCESS
“Family” plays an important role in the child’s life and personality development, as the primary place where the child primarily meets his/her basic needs such as belonging, being loved, trust and understanding, as well as meeting his/her physical needs.
Family; In general, our society (nuclear families) consists of mother, father and children. When a problem occurs in one of these basic systems that make up the family, other systems begin to suffer. The relationship between the parents as well as the relationship with the child affects the child positively or negatively. Some parents may continue their relationship because of their child’s happiness and future concerns, even though the bond of love and respect between them is broken. However, they can fight frequently in the house and experience intense incompatibility. The more traumatic the divorce process is for the child, the more unhealthy the family environment may contain for the child.
Disputes and fights between parents negatively affect the development of the child. The child wants to see his parents together and is happy when the parents are together, but what is important for the healthy development of the child is the quality of the relationship established by the parents rather than living together in the same house. For this reason, in some exceptional cases, although it is an undesirable situation, the divorce of the parents, in other words, their separation and their continuing their roles as parents separately for the child may have more positive results for the child. If the divorced parents meet the needs of the child, fulfill their responsibilities, and give love and trust to the child, the child’s level of being affected by the divorce will also decrease.
In addition, there are some important situations that parents should pay attention to during the divorce process and post-divorce process.
ISSUES THAT DIVORCED PARENTS SHOULD CONSIDER
It is necessary to explain to the child in a clear and understandable language about the divorce process. You can say that you are not happy when you are together, that you do not get along, that you have some disagreements, that you cannot fix it even though you tried to fix it.
One of the most common problems is that the child may blame himself for this situation. Tell him it’s not his fault.
Avoid blaming your spouse in conversations about divorce. This will only serve to make your child angry with his mother or father and ruin their relationship.
Tell the child about your divorce decision with your spouse.
Tell the child about the changes that will happen in his life after the divorce. If possible, postpone radical changes such as changing city, changing house, or a new marriage for a while. The child will have difficulty in adapting to these changes after the divorce.
It is the healthiest for the child to maintain the relationship between the parents after the separation. Try to make decisions about the child together with your spouse. Environments where mother, father and child can spend time together can be created. It will be good for the child to be together on important days such as birthdays and Christmas.
After the divorce, care should be taken that the child sees both parents at regular intervals and continuously.
Parents should not prevent their spouse from seeing the child in order to take revenge on their ex-spouse. The child is not a tool to be used as leverage.
Parents should avoid excessive displays of affection in order to attract the child to their side.
Do not force the child to take sides in matters that are not agreed upon.
Keep the child away from the environment where issues related to divorce are discussed, and do not have your arguments in front of the child.
Do not deprive the child of your spouse’s love and himself.
Do not use the child as a tool to reconcile with your spouse.
Warn other family members and relatives to be sensitive towards the child. Do not allow others to disparage the child’s mother or father.
It is important that both spouses take care of the child, be aware of developments in their lives, and participate in school activities and other activities. One of the spouses being too interested does not make up for the other’s deficiency.
Take care to answer the child’s questions openly and honestly.
Do not force the child to choose between his mother or father.
Make sure that his mother and father stay at home and spend time. Make him feel that both houses are his home.
THE CHILD’S REACTIONS AFTER THE DIVORCE
Behavioral disorders such as thumb sucking, nail biting, lying, bedwetting
· The tendency to act smaller than they are.
Stuttering of psychological origin
Fears of being alone and night terrors
· Inconsistency and restlessness
Sleeping and eating problems
· Problems in relations with the environment
Decline in school achievement
· Fear of school
Temper tantrums and aggression
· Being introverted
Psychosomatic disorders such as headache and stomachache, nausea
Such adjustment and behavior problems can be seen in children of divorced families. Family communication, love and care can prevent this situation. However, even if all measures are taken to ensure that the child is minimally affected by this event, the child may be greatly affected by this event. In such a case, getting professional help will be beneficial for both the parents and the child.
Healthy and happy days =)
Serap Melek Sergeant KILIÇ
Family Therapist – Pedagogue