These days we find that many children are being raised in single parent households or in households where the father figure is not their birth parent.
No matter how sensitive and understanding the step father may be, it can still be difficult for children; questioning how or why their father had to leave them and the family home, maybe worrying that they were somehow responsible.
Divorced Dads – Children may have several concerns at this time:
- He wants to live his own life and forget about us. Children may feel hurt and angry, be concerned that they became too much of a burden for their dad to continue supporting them.
They often need reassurance that they were not responsible for the decision for him to leave. They need to know that it was their parent’s relationship that failed, that it was their parent’s decision to end the arguing, bad atmosphere, indifferent or destructive relationship. Even so children may question their father’s loyalty and think that he is being selfish in leaving them.
- Children tend to take things personally and can feel rejected and unloved as a consequence of their father leaving.
They may suspect that there was something about them, their behaviour, a flaw of some kind that prompted their father to decide that he couldn’t stay. Surely if they had been lovable enough he would have stayed, he wouldn’t have been able to bring himself to leave. They may even suspect that he was relieved to go, that he didn’t care enough to stay or that they were especially difficult or unworthy of him remaining.
- Some children feel distressed that they weren’t asked where they would like to live, weren’t included in the arrangements about their lives.
It is often assumed that children will live with their mother, it’s often the more practical of options, but some children have a better relationship with their father and would choose to live with him if they were allowed. Children may feel excluded, confused at what’s happening and may not fully understand or appreciate the reasoning behind certain decisions.
- He prefers to be with someone else. Discovering that their father has another relationship can be difficult for children, especially if that woman has children of her own who live with her/them. They may feel that he prefers to be with his ‘new’ children, they’re a part of his new life. They may feel relegated to his old life, the life he has chosen to walk away from.
About Susan Leigh
Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, with couples experiencing relationship difficulties to improve communications and understanding and with business clients to support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams.
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