Divorces needn't be ugly for kids

Updated on Aug 22, 2013 12:14 PM IST
Sonam Savlani tells how separating parents can make it easy for children trapped in the former's ugly fight.
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Hindustan Times | BySonam Savlani, Mumbai

To divorce or not? is the question adults are often confronted with while going through a rough patch in their marriage. But there's no looking back, once they decide to walk down that lonely road.

However, children can't help but feel trapped in the midst of this ugly fight between adults. Talk it over Psychologist, Anjala Singh, feels that a tortured mind is the worst. "What's the point of living in constant strife? Take the plunge, if you think it's absolutely necessary .

"Even if there's no domestic abuse involved, a general area of tension might exist between partners.. this is equally pervasive," she says.

In spite of evidence of high conflict everywhere, she feels there's a better way of doing it. A child is quick to notice that something is amiss. She adds, "When one partner comes home, the other responds with a stony silence.. his or her body language changes.

The child wonders, "Is someone going to get hurt? Will I be forced to take sides?" Rather than let things spiral, the parents must sit down with their child and make the cause of tension clear to him. The child should be told, "It's not about you.. it's about us."

Tell it like it is People often fear telling their children the entire truth. Under these circumstances is honesty really a virtue?

Singh explains, "Parents should sit together and discuss their differences. Conscious effort has to be made to veer away from the blame game.. even if it's an extra marital affair.

"This happens when there's a communi cation gap between couples. Don't burden your child unnecessarily.. he doesn't need to know about your issues. He should be told the truth or something close to it."

At times, one is unsure about talking it over with the children.. keeping their age in mind. If you think the truth is too much for him to handle or comprehend.. then a simple explanation works best.

But if the child is mature, he's bound to ask questions. Then it's a wise decision to explain your stance. Reassurance At a later stage, the child needs to be reassured that they're both there for him. Singh elaborates, "He should be reminded that he hasn't lost a parent.

"On the topic of custody he deserves an .. explanation on why the current arrangement is feasible for him. A broken home is like having a part of your body amputated.. the child knows the new equation and accepts it."

Uday Pandit felt isolated because of the choices his wife made. He says, "I returned home from work to find the house empty. She moved to the US with our daughter.. to live with her family ."

They separated a few months later.. widening the distance between his daughter and him. "The question of visiting rights didn't arise because it wasn't practical for me to go to the US every time I wanted to see her. Eventually we drifted apart. It has left a void in my life," he says wistfully.

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