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What To Do If Child Blames Himself For Divorce
Today, we talk about how and why children start to blame themselves for divorce and why this is crucial for your child’s further development. Moreover, I’ll share a simple way on how to help your child stop thinking that way.

Niels Klement, Child of Divorce

When Mommy and Daddy are having a hard time, it is often confusing for a child to comprehend what exactly triggered this situation. They are starting to think about it more and more and many children end up by thinking they’re the reason why this is happening. Such bad thoughts can cause crucial amendments to your child’s personality. Moreover, many children create an inferiority complex in such situations.

As a parent, your job is it to make sure those thoughts and feelings aren’t even mediated to a kid. For example, do not fight in front of your child and of course, talk to him about the real reason why divorce is happening.



When someone is blaming himself for something, he is always telling himself that he is the problem and that he is the reason why all the bad stuff is happening. As you can guess, that’s not good at all.


Especially not for children.
Children start to feel worthless, which can lead to an inferiority complex.
By the way, this is also the reason, why I fell into depression.

So keep in mind, that kind of inferiority complex can create a doorway to depression and trauma, which can only be cured by a psychotherapy.
Nevertheless, many children can react differently to feeling inferiority. Some might be more aggressive and some might be more introverted. In both cases, they are seeking for attention and recognition.



As I said before, young children can not really comprehend what is going on in a difficult situation like divorce, especially not when its just starting out. At the moment you tell them you are going to separate, they realize that there’s going to be a big change in their life because mommy and daddy stopped loving each other.

Since children do not really know what it takes to break a relationship and what reason exactly caused the situation, they start blaming themselves.
Additional to that, many parents aren’t talking to their kids enough about divorce. Okay, I get it, you don’t want to pressure your child more than it needs to be, but in this case, it is the wrong decision.
When you do not give your child sufficient information about your current status in divorce, they are gonna think up stuff that is not true and they’ll start blaming themselves.
But of course, be careful with the information you give to your child. Stuff like finances and ownership disputes do not belong in a child’s ear and are totally irrelevant.
On the whole, it is important that you talk to your kids about divorce right at the start. In my opinion, the article of Lisa Herrick, who is a therapist is really helpful in this situation. You can check it out here!


Try to speak to your child as soon as possible about the current situation. State clear that it doesn’t have anything to do with your child.

Many children are going to ask questions and the best way to go about this is by just telling them the truth and the answer to every question they have. If there was cheating or other things that one person in the relationship did to break it involved, do not blame them in front of your child like: “Mommy did that…” “Daddy did that…”. That will only make it worse!

In this case, try to come up with an also important reason for the divorce. Maybe the betrayal of trust in your relationship wasn’t the only thing that caused the separation. And if there was literally no other reason for the breakup, then just tell the truth but a bit changed:
“Mommy and Daddy stopped trusting each other.”
“We do not get along as well as we used to.”
Keep in mind, you always need to justify your statements in front of your kid to give him a better understanding and to make clear he is not the reason for the divorce.



If your child told you once or twice that it is all his fault, you have made some mistakes when you first talked with him about divorce.


Unfortunately, this is a problem, but one that can be solved!
At this point, you can easily change your child’s point of view with consistent support by talking to them about what they think they did to cause the divorce and then replying to that in an understanding way.
For example, try things like:


  • “I understand your point but this is something mom and dad have decided after a long time of trying to make things work better.”
  • “It was an adult decision and there is nothing you can do about it”
Some kids try to improve the situation by being “extra nicely” or by always cleaning their room. If you recognize such a behavior, state clearly that none of those things can change the situation or will “improve” it.



You need to know, that feeling worthless can have a huge impact on peoples lives. Especially in a hard time like this.

When kids blame themselves for their parent’s separation, most out of time, they are feeling exactly this kind of worthlessness. They are starting to think about stuff like: “no one really likes me, because of this and that”, which is absolutely absurd.
Some kids might lose social competence because of the hard time they’re going through, which pressures the feeling of inferiority additionally.
From experience, I can say that suffering under emotions can exactly cause such thoughts. Because I have never talked to anyone about my feelings, I started to get depressed.
For many parents, it is hard to tell if your child is suffering under an inferiority complex. So, if you have recognized some changes in your child’s behavior, like being more introverted than normal, then try to talk to him about it.


When I was in this situation, just talking to my parents wasn’t an option anymore. I needed some professional help.
Are you in the same situation? Consider talking to a kids therapist about your situation and then decide with your child if it is going to help you.
I recommend visiting a therapist when nothing else worked out for you and your child. Keep in mind, that it is not your decision. Talk to your child about the idea of getting professional help and let him decide what should be the next step.
In conclusion, I think that talking to your child beforehand the right way, is the easiest way to prevent your kids from even thinking about blaming themselves. Talk to them about the real reason why the divorce needed to happen (Of course, adapted for children) and state clearly over and over again that it was YOUR decision.
A common problem when it comes to a school performance downgrade during a divorce is that many students can not really listen in class because they are too distracted by the things going on.
What really helped me in this situation were taking some extra lessons. I really sat down and took the time to ask and learn everything I’ve missed in class step-by-step.
Talk to your child about this and decide together if this is a move that could help you.
Thank you for reading this!

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