I need you to know that you chose to end your marriage, not me. I know this is the right decision for me in the long run, but it doesn’t feel like it right now. I am going to have lots of big feelings about the divorce and I need you to help me make sense of how I feel. Sometimes I might not tell you that I feel sad about the change in our family or that I feel angry about the things you say to each other or that I feel really confused about why this happened, but know that this stuff is going through my head.
I don’t need you to distract me away from my hard feelings, but I need you to sit beside me as I let this grief move through me. My life can be better after divorce with your help, but I need you to be patient and to be able to hear all my questions and big emotions without taking it personally.
I watch what you do -how you treat my other parent and how you manage your stress -more than what you say. Please model to me healthy ways to manage stress and what honest relationships look like so I can learn how to navigate my world. If you have hurt me in some way, apologize to me. It is never too late to make a repair in a relationship.
Mom and Dad, the relationship you have with each other, will become the lens I use, to view all relationships. I have the right to learn that people can be respectful and kind even though they don’t love each other anymore. Never put me in the middle, make me choose sides or deliver adult messages back and forth. I am just a kid and this is not my job.
Even though my words and actions may look like I am pushing you away sometimes, I will never stop loving you. Deep in my heart, I want both my Mom and my Dad in my life. If one of you fades out of my world, it will leave a scar on me for “how worthy I think I am” and “what I think I deserve”, for my whole life. Make me know that I am your priority…find a way to get busy in my world…how you fill me up -or not, impacts my self-esteem and confidence.
Mom and Dad, please take care of yourselves. Find a safe place to talk about your own big feelings without the words accidently falling on my ears. I am a child and it is never my place to help you with big people problems. Instead, I need you to be the unconditional shoulders I bring my big emotions to, at any age, at any time.
It doesn’t feel safe for me if you become my friend; I actually need you to be my parent! Don’t be scared to set limits and discipline me if I mess up, because this is what helps my world to feel safe and secure.
I wish for you to heal too so you can show me how to live an authentic life where you are truly happy. Your health and happiness is the best gift you can give to me so I can thrive after divorce. I want to be proud of my family and I deserve to look forward to a happy future.
XOX Child of Divorce