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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Children as a Battle Ground

23rd November 2011
Dear Cassi,

One of the things I learned a good deal about in both Psychology and Sociology is the aftermath of divorce. I know it has played a large role in my life, and I must imagine it has come about in yours. 
Some people stay in bad marriages for the sake of their children, some folks split up because they just can stand one another. Still others come to understand that it truly is the right thing. I have to stress at this point that the experts recommend all couples go to therapy when the relationship is good. Generally, by the time couples come to see a therapist they have built so much resentment that the relationship is doomed.
Living in that broken home children will rarely thrive. Even if the couple can hide their fighting normally their children will pick up on the hostility. Petty folks tend to bleed their misery into the world around them even if they refuse to believe that they are miserable.
For those couples who do split up, and there are many, their children often become at battle ground. The arguments that once lived in the marriage are played out in the minds of impressionable children. Those children are asked to choose between parents. Then the children loving both father and mother can’t shake the feeling that they have betrayed both.  

I recall telling one of my Psychology classes that the thing to do is be reasonable adults, and your kids should come out fine. The sad truth is that most of the divorcees studied by science simply aren’t reasonable adults. How does that old song go? “Shattered lives broken dreams.”

Stay safe, Cassi,

Richard Leland Neal