You are alone in your room. Downstairs there are two people screaming at each other. “You are a narcissist!” say someone, while the other is shouting “Just die!”. A door is slammed shut followed by silence. You grab your stuffed animal and quickly jump into your bed. Your bedroom door opens and you pretend to be asleep. Slowly you hear the footsteps disappearing and the person that was in your room a second ago has left. As soon as you are alone in your room again the tears start to flow. You hate your home. You want to leave.
Children in the midst of a divorce
Every year there are approximately 32,000 (CBR) divorces in the Netherlands. Although the number of divorces is decreasing, the amount of divorces involving a bitter conflict is increasing. More and more often, a mediator needs to be involved because parents can not figure it out themselves. They cuss at each other, want to take everything away from each other and hope that their ex-partner will have a miserable life. And who is in the middle of this all? The children. Parents are not aware how much impact a divorce has on their child. Let alone if a divorce turns into a ugly divorce. They are too busy with themselves and the divorce that they are not aware of the wants and needs of their child. Children also have something to say. They know exactly what they want and what they do not want in a situation like this. And they also know what their opinion is of the whole situation. Having or providing the right care for a child who suffers because of his parents’ divorce is very important to prevent problems later in life. During a divorce the guardianship of the children also comes into play. How should that be dealt with? How often are they going to spend time at their mother’s and how often at their father’s? What about vacation? These kinds of things are now noted in a parental plan that has been mandatory in the Netherlands since 2009. It is very important to ask the child what he or she wants. He must feel safe and not have the feeling to choose between either his mother of this father.
Because of an ugly separation it can sometimes happen that at one point there is no contact with one of the parents at all. What I am wondering then is how you can choose not to see your child anymore. I understand that the eternal struggle is exhausting, but you are supposed to fight for your child no matter what happens. The longer you are not in contact with your child, the harder it is going to get to restore that connection. The bond is fading. Not only for the parent but also for the child. The longer you wait, the harder it is going to be. Until one day that child has a family of his own and he cannot stop wondering how a parent is able to abandon his child.
It is tragic. Tragic that you have to grow up with one parent because of a divorce turned ugly. Maybe you’ll blame yourself. You may feel inferior. And maybe you have the idea that it was a conscious choice of your father or mother not to see you anymore. There is a void left behind and you do not feel complete. A father and mother are so important in the development of a child and it is sad because the lost time can never be caught up again.