Children’s Rights in Divorce Parents Should Not Forget

By Judith Murray on October 02, 2011

‘...But set aside the legality of things, children simply want and need to have a complete family- enjoying the love and support of their true parents.’

Britain has still one of the highest divorce rates in the world even though the number has significantly dropped for almost a decade.  Last year, experts expected an increase in divorce rate by year 2011 which was blamed on the recent recession.  In a data provided by nationmaster.com, UK ranks 4th in the world list with 3.08% of divorce rate per 1,000 couples.

Difficult it is for the couples, the whole divorce thing is more of a traumatic experience for children.  Parents can not expect that their kids will totally understand what’s happening and why.  Watching their parents go separate ways can be the worst scenario for children who depend so much on their family.  While divorce could be the easiest possible way of ending a bad marital relationship, the process should not aggravate the child’s emotional and mental health.  Parents seeking for divorce should never ever forget children’s rights during divorce.

What are these rights?

  • The right to be treated with utmost love and affection. There are couples who are so caught up with the whole divorce thing that they tend to forget they still have a child who is the most important person they need to prioritize.  Here’s the usual scenario- Daddy would spend hours on the phone talking to his lawyer; mommy will spend the whole day out seeking comfort from friends.    Sometimes, parents are becoming insensitive about the feelings of their children.
  • The right to be free from their parents’ marital conflicts. It is during childhood that individuals are most inquisitive.  This stage in one’s life is the stage of discovery and learning.  But kids are easily distracted especially when it comes to their parents.  They may never know what’s wrong and may never understand it but kids should be spared from the conflicts.  As much as possible, parents should keep their quarrels, misunderstandings, and bitterness away from the child.  There’s an old saying that goes ‘children do what they see’.  Parents may not notice it but as the kid grows up, he/she may grow bitter and harsh with other people too.
  • The right to maintain harmonious and positive relations with their parents.  Most of the time, children whose parents are divorcing get jammed in a situation where they have to choose between their parents.  Most of the time, it’s the mother who is given the legal right to take custody of their children.  Sometimes, the court would have to choose who is in better capacity to take care of the kids.  But set aside the legality of things, children simply want and need to have a complete family- enjoying the love and support of their true parents.   Even though the parents are no longer living together, they should not deprive their kids of the love that only they can provide.
  • The right to understand that they are not the cause of the divorce. Children deal with things differently.  The way they’ll react on the divorce of their parents will basically depend on their level of understanding, personality, and emotional behaviour.  There are times that children may think they are the cause of their parent’s upcoming separation.  This is the worst thing that may happen because some kids may not be able to deal with it properly.  It’s the duty of every parent to help the child understand that sometimes, grownups may need to go away from each other and that is not because of them.  That is why it is highly important that both parents maintain open communication, support, and love to their kids regardless of their situation.

Again, children may not understand everything but it doesn’t mean they don’t care.  Parents should be more sensitive to the feelings of their kids.  They say good values are best learned at home.  And they will carry out these values as they grow up.  Parents should always be their teachers.

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