Sometimes the voice of children whose parents are divorcing or separating gets lost in all the other noise and discussion surrounding the process. We thought it would be useful to hear things children have said about their parents’ separation.
Most parents worry terribly about the impact of their split on their children, but plenty of research shows that children can adapt well to separation, what they cannot cope with is ongoing conflict between their parents. Have a read of some of these quotes:
‘I wouldn’t want Mum and Dad to get back together, it was awful when they were always arguing. The only bad thing now is when they argue, so I’d like it if they could get on a bit better.’
“They separated because my dad said he’s just stopped loving my mum ‘cos they been together now much longer than he’d really wanted to. He said he stayed, just because of the children. You know, us two. He said he didn’t really want to leave when we were too young, he explained to me that he was thinking of leaving quite a long time ago.”
Ellie (10) talking about how she feels when her parents argue when they meet.
“I feel horrible actually. It’s just I can’t stop them cos one’s my Dad and one’s my Mum. It seems like it’s all my fault when they are arguing. It just makes me feel horrible. I just feel that they’re arguing cos of me, cos I was born and cos I have to be picked up at a certain time, and it’s just horrible.”
‘Sometimes you come back home and feel fed up, like annoyed that you have to do this, like have separate mums and separate dads, and you don’t want to do it anymore, but you can cope it really, you get used to it.’
‘Children should get a say in things, they shouldn’t be left out. I mean, it’s their life as well, they shouldn’t be stuck with someone they didn’t want to be with.’
‘I think there should be some kind of agreement between the children and the parents as to what should happen. I think the people who are involved should get to decide, not by themselves, but by helping each other to reach some kind of agreement as to what would be best.’
“All I really know about Mum and Dad’s divorce is the money side. My Dad didn’t tell me about the divorces papers, ‘cos I now there was a lot of things that Mum put on there which was quite cruel and untrue. Dad just told me a couple of things that were on there, but he said it was private. And I think he was trying to protect us, protect me in some ways.”
“I think the kids should know what is going on, because I think ti’s very unfair to keep them in the dark. Because it’s their parents. And maybe, if, when the parents are going to solicitors, maybe the solicitor of someone explaining to them (children), instead of their parents, ‘cos their parents might not understand ti. So if they (children) have somebody explain what’s going on, then they may find it better. But that was just my case. Other people might not want to know what’s going on.”
“I think it’s important to know the legal side of things. ‘Cos then you know completely what’s going on , and it helps you. You know where you are, what’s going on. And then, I don’t think you should know every bit of it, like, ‘cos some things are private to my mother. I think it should be explained to you by your parents. But I think it should only be explained to you by your parents. ‘Cos then you are comfortable with who’s speaking to you.”
‘The children should get a say, and the parents should be able to sort things out for everyone – they should be able to act like adults about it really.’
‘When you parents don’t live together it’s a lot easier to say, “Oh God, I hate my mum of dad, I’m going to move out and live with the other parent,” and you play them off against each other, instead of working it out.’
‘You get on with your life and then when something comes up, you just sort of try and cross that bridge when you come to it.’
‘I call my Mum’s boyfriend Uncle Sylvester. I know he’s not my real Uncle or anything, but we like it.’
‘You have more people to talk to and be with. There are more people to care about you.’
“I’m happy that they got divorced cos if they hadn’t then they’d be arguing all my life and then I’d be all upset. And it’s more happier without shouting all the time. cos if they haven’t got divorced and I’m sure that they’d still be shouting now. My Dad’s happy and on the phone now, my Mum and Dad get on. They’re friends now. It’s more fun and everything’s happy – everywhere.”
At progressive Mediation we are very experienced in helping parents to communicate with their children after separation or divorce. Call us if you would like to find out more about mediation with children on 0117 924 3880.