Why do children sometimes think they caused their parents’ divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2020 | Child Custody |

One of the most common pieces of advice that people give parents during a divorce is to reassure their children that they did not cause the parental split. Children are often very worried about this. It’s important for parents to stress their love for the children repeatedly — even more than they think is necessary — and to tell them that it is not their fault. 

For parents, though, this can feel surprising. It’s not that they don’t want to help their children feel secure and loved. It’s just that the idea that the kids caused the divorce has never even crossed their minds. The children had nothing to do with it. That feels so obvious to both of them. They just want to be wonderful, loving parents, regardless of their marital status, and that will never change. They never even considered blaming the children. So why are the children so worried about this?

The issue, some experts claim, is that a child’s perspective often focuses only on themselves. They don’t do this on purpose, and it isn’t selfishness on their part. It’s just the way that they think. Their world is much more limited than an adult’s, so their view of events tends to make them believe that they are at the center of whatever is happening — good or bad. 

Keep this in mind as you move toward your divorce, and focus on finding solutions that put the children first. That may include working out a cooperative custody schedule with your ex, finding new ways to co-parent and more. It can help to get an outsider’s perspective as soon as you know that you’re about to divorce.