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Reasons children may think they caused a divorce

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2022 | Divorce And Family Law |

Children often believe that a divorce is their own fault, and this can be very emotionally difficult for them. It is the reason why parents are often advised to reassure their children that both they and their ex still love the child and want to be involved. They also need to stress that the children were not the reason for the divorce, but that adult issues are what caused it.

However, some parents find themselves very confused as to why their children would think that they caused a divorce in the first place. Let’s look at a couple of reasons why this happens.

Other negative events were their fault

First and foremost, children are always trying to learn the rules, and seeing the ways in which they can interact with the world. Much of the time, when they feel like things are going poorly, it is their own fault, because they have made some sort of mistake or done something that brought on that result. 

An example of this is when a child is disciplined for disobeying their parents shortly before they find out their parents are splitting up. If the child perceives the divorce as a negative event, then it naturally follows that they may try to figure out what they have done to cause that event to take place.

They engage in magical thinking.

Depending on the age of the children, a phenomenon known as magical thinking, could also come into play. This usually just happens with young children, because, as noted above, they still have a lot to learn about the world and they are always trying to do so. As a result, they will sometimes believe that their thoughts have a lot of power, even the power to make changes in the real world. 

For example, that child may have gotten punished and told their Dad that they didn’t want to live with him anymore. When the divorce starts and Dad moves out, the child believes it is their fault even though they had nothing to do with it. It’s important to keep your children’s perspectives in mind while looking into your legal options for a divorce. 

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