No One In My Family Has Ever Been Divorced and I Feel Ashamed. Will My Children Feel the Same Way?

Change is tough.  Changing how you view yourself is even tougher, but when you have children it is important.  Despite what you may feel, there is much less social stigma to divorce now than there was even twenty years ago.  The pendulum has swung so far that my children came home from school when they were little and told my wife and I that we were the odd family because we were still married.  Even with that being the case, perception is often our reality and it is not uncommon for people going through a divorce to feel this way, but it is important you protect your children from those feelings.

One of the best ways to overcome any sense of shame is to encourage the children to take pride in their new family unit.  Urge the children to look forward to the future with a sense of possibility for what is to come.  Although you cannot possibly predict the future or how your children will feel, you can mitigate their feelings of guilt by helping them to understand what is happening and reenforcing that they bear no responsibility for the divorce.  Remind them that both parents still love them and will continue to love them (even if the parents no longer love each other, but you do not have to point that out).  Whatever you do, you must refrain from projecting your own feelings onto your children.  They are not your sounding board or counselors and do not need that burden.  Let them react in their own way and experience their own feelings.

This is your opportunity to really step up and be a role model to your children.  They will see you overcome obstacles and tackle new challenges while demonstrating a newfound sense of independence.  As a family you will move forward and overcome this hurdle of life.  You can be a wonderful teacher to them in this time.  If you have more questions about how to deal with these issues, I would encourage you to talk with a therapist or your children's guidance counselor.  If you have questions about your legal rights, contact the Alford Law Office.

Photo courtesy of Andy Bullock

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