A Letter from a Child to Her Parents during Divorce

Dear Mommy and Daddy,

Yesterday I just stood there as you fought over my baby sister.  Mommy had both her arms and Daddy had both her legs.  I thought my baby sister would break in half but she just cried cause she is only one years old.  I felt so bad that I didn’t stop you from fighting over her, it is all my fault.  Maybe if I was better than you won’t fight so much.

Daddy, you say mean things to me and Mommy.  You say my mommy tells lies about you.  But she is nice to me and takes care of me and my sister.  She listens to me when I cry and tries to make me feel better.  She tells me that you are mean and if you were nice then she would not have to be mean.  Daddy, please be nice to Mommy so she can be nice to you.

Daddy, I have fun when we are together doing stuff.  You take me places I like to go.  But Mommy tells me I don’t have to go with you if I don’t want.  She told me that we can do something special if I don’t go with you.  I like her treats too so I get confused about where to go.

I don’t like to go without my baby sister because she needs me to take care of her.  I am away from her at school and I wish I didn’t have to go to school so I could stay at home and help Mommy out with her.  Mommy gets tired easily and besides only I know how she feels and she needs me.  One day she fell asleep and I tried to wake her up but she won’t get up.  My baby sister was crying so I talked to her until Mommy got up.  It was dark then.

I love my school but you keep fighting over money and how much it costs.  All my friends go there but I don’t want you to fight.  Can I go to a school you won’t fight over?  I don’t care where I go.  I’ll be good wherever you send me.  I promise.

I don’t want to lie.  I learned in school that you shouldn’t tell a lie but Mommy you asked me to lie about Daddy.  You told me to tell my teacher that Daddy hit me.  He did not hit me.  I told her that he did but then she asked me questions and you weren’t there so I didn’t know how to answer them.  Can you come to school with me and tell my teacher what you want me to say to her?  I don’t want to lie to her.  She is nice to me and she looks sad when other kids lie to her.  I don’t want to be like them.

Daddy you scared me when you get angry.  I don’t like your angry voice.  Mommy told me that you hurt people when you get like that.  You have not hurt me but I am afraid that if I am not good enough you will.  I also don’t want my baby sister to get hurt so please stop getting angry.  I will do whatever you want if you just stop yelling.  Please don’t hurt me like Mommy said you would.

It made me sad that you were fighting over my baby sister.  I know that you have not fought over me like that cause I am bad and she is good.  It is ok.  I know that I am bad cause if I were good, you would not have left Daddy.  I tell my baby sister to stay good so that Mommy won’t leave too cause that is what parents do when their kid is bad.

I have an idea.  Since I am bad, break me in half so my baby sister doesn’t have to be broken.  I am afraid that you will break her one day and then I will be sad.  I don’t want to live without her.  Then maybe you will not fight anymore.  This is all I want, for you to stop fighting.  Please stop.

Love,

Your Child

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Child Custody – Don’t Lose Your Kids in the Divorce

Divorce Child, a work by Javad Alizadeh, Irani...

Divorce Child, a work by Javad Alizadeh, Iranian artist. A first prize winner cartoon at Ankara cartoon festival,2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before you begin reading, let’s discuss what this article does NOT address.  It does not address any legal issues or offer any legal advice or discuss strategies for getting what you want in a divorce.  For that advice, you are better off consulting with an attorney.  Rather the focus of this article is on the relational aspects of child custody, the importance of not losing your relationship with your kids and the dangers of losing who your kids are as a result of the divorce.

Relationships are an important part of our lives.  Relationships begin when we are born, whether good or bad, and continue through childhood into adulthood.  Good relationships strengthen our relationship with others, with ourselves, and with God and have a lasting positive effect.  Conversely bad relationships, especially in childhood, tend to have a ripple effect on adulthood negatively affecting our relationships with other, with ourselves, and with God.

A divorce can bring out the worst in people as a union is divided into two separate parts, with each part ending less whole then when the union began.  For kids who base their sense of security on the union, this can be devastating.  The relationships they trust are now broken and they are unsure of how the new relationship will function.

Child-Custody Relationship.  Whatever the agreement, your child will have a new routine.  Even if they remain in the same house, the absence of the other parent is new to them.  Helping your child to adjust to the routine and custody arrangement is your responsibility, not the child’s.  Explain the routine without becoming emotional, blaming the other parent, or causing any tension during the transitions.  If you could not get along with your ex during your marriage, this is the time to learn to cooperate for your child’s sake.

Child-Parent Relationship.  Regardless of the custody arrangements, your time with your children is just that, your time.  Don’t waste your time with other distractions or take your time with your kids for granted.  Spend some time finding out what your kids enjoy doing and then do that with them.  Ex’s have a tendency to divide into fun parent and disciple parent.  Resist the temptation to be either rather creating a healthy balance between the two.  This will go a long way to solidifying your relationship.

Child-Child Relationship.  No matter how many times you tell your child that the divorce is not their fault, they blame themselves.  They also dream of their parents getting back together someday, no matter how farfetched.  To help your child adjust, talk to them regularly about their feelings, being open to hearing the hard things they need to express.  This will go a long way in teaching them to cope with their new routine and minimizing the self-blaming.

While the lawyers figure out the custody arrangements, spend your time working on the relational aspects of the new arrangement.  Having positive relationships is instrumental to healthy childhood development and in the end, your child will be the one who benefits and does not get lost in the shuffle.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.