Just like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s recent headline-making split, half of all marriages end in divorce. Often the children are the ones most affected by a family being split apart, The Doctors look at ways to minimize the damage of divorce on kids.
Clinical psychologist Dr. John Chirban, author of “Collateral Damage: Guiding and Protecting Your Child Through the Minefield of Divorce,” joins the show to discuss this troubling life event.
“For children, it’s a place where they are pulled out of the core of their life, the center of their life,” he says, explaining that two major fears kids of divorce have are that the family is over and that their childhood is over. He further explains that when the parental relationship is impaired it can seriously affect the kids as it is the relationship they most enjoy and look up to.
So what can parents going through a divorce do to lessen the effects of their divorce on their kids? Dr. Chirban recommends:
- Attune to the child – pay close attention to understanding the child’s needs regarding the divorce
- Be aware of emotional reactions – often a child’s response to a split will be much more emotional than rational
- Keep up with consistent parenting – kids still need structure, guidance, and strong parenting during this time
- Provide a path and direction – Dr. Chirban says that divorce can confuse kids and that it is vital to provide purpose and direction
He adds, “Children are commitments, not commodities, and in the process of divorce children become commodities.”
Find out more from Dr. Chirban, including how to get his book of “Collateral Damage: Guiding and Protecting Your Child Through the Minefield of Divorce,” here.