If you’re looking for divorce advice for parents, one thing you’ll consistently find is that you should tell the children that the divorce is not their fault. Telling them just once may not be enough. They may not believe it. You need to reassure them often.
Some parents just take this fact and apply it, which is great. It can help. But why do children look at divorce this way? As a parent, you know that you’re getting divorced because of financial stress, because your spouse had an affair or for some other “adult” reason. Why do children assume it’s their fault?
A self-focused worldview
The reason, some experts note, is that children focus mostly on themselves and it’s honestly hard for them to look at the world any other way. They’re not being selfish on purpose. They do feel like everything revolves around them. Part of growing up is learning to think outside of this view, but they haven’t learned that skill yet.
So, when they find out their parents are splitting up, they naturally try to figure out what they did wrong. Did they fail to do their chores and anger their Mom so much that she wants to live somewhere else? Did they do badly in school and make their Dad decide he wanted a new relationship? Is the real reason for the divorce that their parents don’t love them?
You know how illogical this all sounds, but children honestly don’t, which is why it’s so important to talk with them and reassure them as your family moves through this divorce process.