Contra Mozilla

Monday, November 4, 2013

Why Divorce hurts Children

It is a simple fact that divorce hurts children. It has been said (I think by Fulton Sheen) that when parents go through a divorce, they lay their crosses on the shoulders of their children. There are a lot of reasons why divorce hurts children: they become objectified, just another strategic objective in the battle between separating spouses; they have no stable home environment, especially if mom gets a new boyfriend every month and dad takes up drinking; there's no unified parental front for making and upholding rules, and any attempt by either spouse to do this might get undermined by the other spouse trying to be the "fun" parent.

It occur to me that there is another reason why divorce hurts children, and this psychologically. Children need to be loved, and this is a thing which goes beyond (though does encompass) simply being told that they are loved. What's true in fiction is true in life here: show, don't (just) tell. But love becomes an informed attribute in divorce, because the children have been told time and again by both parents that they are loved by those parents; but they know that at some point, the parents also said "I love you" to each other. They now witness that their parents don't really love each other, or don't anymore, and so "I love you" becomes an empty platitude between the spouses. Might it not also be an empty platitude between mother and daughter, between father and son?

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