Children often react to their parents' separation with fears and disorders, many have to take later in life problems, relationships and maintain statistics say. Can separate children still also be quite normal happy - and if so, how?

Happy child: Possible or window dressing?

Child separation parents

Photo: © goodluz

For Maria * is clear: Although the divorce from her husband did not go perfectly, her three daughters are now, six years later, but quite happy: "None of my girl wants to make the separation reversed. At the time I talked a lot with them, answering questions openly supports them to maintain contact with her father, even though he wanted to manipulate and antagonize me. So they have relatively quickly put away the fright, partly because they realized that it was super to me. While they can not yet see everything quite loose, but they feel better now, it is quieter and if something bothers you, it is addressed immediately. "

Children can be happy very well even when their parents separate: For some, this is a trivializing statement on ceiling that each separate child suffer, even if that does not always seem so at first glance, and its frivolous divorces a cheap justification procure. For others however, it is a hopeful perspective that also encouraged to postpone a necessary separation, not only because of guilt and worry about the children.

What Happiness (not) means

"Be happy" does not mean that a child go out completely unchanged and untouched by sorrow of the separation experience and will bounce from morning to night, beaming through the world - how it would do so no child even from the most harmonious nuclear family. But it is what parents generally mean when they wish that their child will be happy: be happy, find love, can trust.

Separation is always first of all bad

Given the fundamental change that means a separation of the parents for the majority of children, this is by no means a given. "For first time the child comes into a terrible situation. It loses all his footing, the floor opens up. Of course, it also depends on the age, but basically is the child most helpless and vulnerable of all those involved ", describing the Wuppertal graduate social scientist and naturopath for psychotherapy Elke Fuhrmann-Wönkhaus, focusing on working with families as well as educational counseling, especially in separation situations specializes. Even under favorable circumstances, such as when tensions disappear and stop off more peace in everyday life, is once afraid because: of the unknown world, the lack of security, a new apartment, lack of money.

That children as initially show some abnormalities, either in behavior, with sleeping problems or poorer school grades are bad per se neither unusual nor: "You can not wegreden that separation is painful when one denies that does not stop" says the therapist. "Only when the pain is mourned properly, it can continue. And for that it is important to actively deal with these feelings that must all out. "

While adults are looking interlocutor, children can not articulate always correspondingly. "Then push yourself different, perhaps angry or get stomach or headaches. Some go inside, start to dream or cry out for a stuffed animal. "Average takes two to three years to children who show such loads have recaptured. Is it necessary, for example if a child totally closes, he is entitled to therapeutic support. "It is most efficient but in my view, to work only with the parents," says Elke Fuhrmann-Wönkhaus. "If it's okay with them if they are reconciled at the parent level, the automatically transfer to child."

Rule no. 1: Children must be able to keep mother and father

Because, as the experience of the expert: Children are especially persistent traumatized by separation, if parents do not keep their relationship conflicts from them. "This is most important in such a situation, cleanly separate from the dissolving of the couple's relationship, and the parent level, which is a lifetime. It's terrible for a child when the parents speak ill of each other in front of him and expect it in solidarity. A child must have the security, even if everything changes around me, may I love Mom and Dad both on and keep, "said the counselor. "Because the child is always the father and mother, it carries both in itself, no matter what. If one rejects the one, feels so rejected a part of the child. Nor can wegtrennen a parent, because then the child is only half. "The resulting void is often filled with addictions, with fears, forced or relationship problems. "If allowed, children can but feel free to love mother and father when they show their feelings and process, they may be happy divorce children who can discuss later happy relationships."

Time of recapping for parents

It is precisely this basic rule have David * and his wife - strictly followed and in their divorce, the children consistently kept out of the dispute - after consultation and with the support of a mediator. presented to parents the great challenges: "That meant a time of recapping, of resetting their own mortification and Sichzusammenreißens to get together to find a solution for the children," David recalls. "And to practice repeatedly tolerance, for example if prevail completely different rules when partners." The effort has paid off: Thanks fairness and respect, openness, clear agreements and unconditional reliability are his children happy children of separation, he says. "I do firmly believe that they have very very little. But above all, of feeling, they trust me as well as my ex-wife. They trust that we love them, no matter what happened, that they will never be abandoned. "

The Cons: Even less deep scars fade not quite

Elizabeth Marquardt would probably reading this with skepticism. The American scientist and author of "his child between two worlds. What is going on inside of children of divorce "was two years old when her parents separated. It was peaceful, she always felt by both loved. Today it is successful, married, mother. And I do not know concluded that was all right with her all of it anyway: Traces of separation may not be as clearly visible. Nevertheless, they were there and had an impact on their lives. Inquire to people like her about her life, she writes, one would find that the parents' divorce was the central element of both their childhood as well as their present-day personality. "We have become too fast. We did not know where we belong. We have our parents often miss terribly if we were not with them. "

Makes children happier if people did not separate the first place?

Grave concern, made from my own experience as well as from a long-term study is that children who do not break hopelessly at the separation of parents, have to serve as a convenient evidence that they do not absolutely need both parents to be happy. "Happy talk" called Marquardt those in their view eloquence that downplays the loss of children permitted. Instead, she is not the only expert and representative of many victims, convinced that children who grow up in the same household with such parents, although they love each other no longer terribly Doll, but get along without constantly arguing, are still happier than children from "good" divorces. In addition, it emerged that supposed separation events were often solved when couples run immediately apart in a crisis. By holding worthwhile places Marquardt parents to heart, just for the benefit of children for whom, as their studies no longer counted as "a real home."

How much parents have to put the love of the child?

Are parents so because of their decision to have had a child, a moral obligation to stay together is if their marriage is not irretrievably broken, marked by tensions or even violence? A guarantee of a happy child is not is also this strategy. Whether a child more benefits from the fact that it gets resistance meaning "bear it together," taught by value or from seeing how positively with separations that are now time to live, deal and can also grow from painful experiences, each family can only answer for himself. 

Relationship building rather than separation - yes, children pre chicken - no

Serious relationship work but also keeps Elke Fuhrmann-Wönkhaus for a very desirable alternative to fast (before) separations. A half-hearted together for the wrong reasons is not legal: "Sometimes the children are only sent forward to postpone separations because adults do not want to face the consequences."

The main recommendations for behavior in case of separation

  • not herantragen few conflicts to the children. Not a perfect world audition, but do not argue in front of the kids or make the ex-partner bad.
  • Age-appropriate explain why you split up - but do not expect a child understand that Mom and Dad "can no longer together."
  • make it clear that the child is not to blame for the separation: In addition to fears children are especially often tormented by guilt.
  • Stress that both remain the parents love the child and be there for it (if so).
  • As soon as possible clarify the situation, structure the everyday reliable.
  • get help if needed, be it a psychologist, a mediator or the Youth Office.

* Names changed


Further reading for parents

  • Gisela Hötker-Ponath: separation Rose war. A psychological guide. Klett-Cotta. 2012. ISBN-13: 978-3608861105. 17.95 euros.
  • Mathias Voelchert: separation in love ... so that is friendship. Kösel.
    2006. ISBN-13: 978-3466307180. 19,95 euro.
  • Alexandra Ehmke, Katrin Rulffes: And the children? Psychological and legal assistance to parents in separation and divorce. Reinhardt. 2012. ISBN-13: 978-3497022380. 19.90 euros.
  • Remo H. Largo, Monika Czernin: Happy children of divorce. Separations and how children cope. Piper. 2004. ISBN-13: 978-3492241588. 9.99 euros.
  • Elke Fuhrmann-Wöhnkhaus: children of divorce. What children experience. How to behave parents. Humboldt. 2009. ISBN-13: 978-3869106014. (Currently only available used)
  • his child between two worlds: Elizabeth Marquardt. What is going on inside of children of divorce. Junfermann. 2007. ISBN-13: 978-3873876736. 22.90 euros.

Further reading with children

  • Harriet Grundmann, Marc-Alexander Schulze: We are always here for you! If mom and dad to separate. Coppenrath. 2010. ISBN-13: 978-3815795200. 11.95 euros.
  • Jeanette Randerath, Imke Sönnichsen: Fips no longer understands the world. When parents separate. Thienemann Verlag. 2008. ISBN-13: 978-3522435420. 12.95 euros.