Q. I got a divorce a few months ago and I am living with a teenage son and a teenage daughter. My son had behavioral issues before the divorce and he still has problems such as runaway, smoking, skipping school, and hanging out with school dropouts. Both my son and I are having a difficult time. I want to get along well with my son, but I don't know how and what to do.
A. Most people think that children experience difficulties and have problems due to parents' divorce. However, parents' divorce itself has less effect on children's psychology than anxiety and depression they go through watching parents go through difficulties in the process of getting a divorce.
Parents necessarily experience great stress and wounds in the process of getting a divorce even though they agree on the divorce and other related matters, so their divorce process goes rather smoothly. Parents' stress and wounds before and after the divorce are delivered to children entirely without being modified much.
Of course, most parents do their best not to affect children negatively in the process of getting a divorce. They may think that getting a divorce must be better than unhappy marriage for children. However, getting a divorce is only a way to avoid stress and wounds, not a way to solve the core issues. The mother may try hard to hold herself and do her best for her children as a divorced woman and a single mother, but her unconscious necessarily makes her express her wounds toward the closest people including her children in spite of herself. Then, the son finds it uncomfortable and stressful to stay at home. He would do his best to stay away from home, and be led to hang out with boys on the street. The daughter's condition is not mentioned in the question, but she is also likely to be experiencing difficulties whether it is displayed or not. She may be accommodating and suppressing her own wounds caused by her mother's expressions of wounds. The psychology of the child who suppresses emotions is likely to be more serious and more unstable than that of the child who expresses them outwardly.
Teenage boys and girls are going through the phase of formation of self-identity in the development of psychology. They form their own thought standards based on their memories and experiences. When they cannot clearly understand what flows in for perception, stress and wounds are generated inside them. Some children may accommodate and suppress stress and wounds, and others may express them as they are. Healthy children naturally express their emotions be it positive or negative. Hiding emotions leads to the accumulation of stress and wounds.
All family members cannot but go through a difficult time when parents get a divorce. Getting a divorce is more than just getting separated legally and physically, and children are affected no matter how hard you try as the mother. The mother must accurately understand what she and her children are going through psychologically. Then, she must treat her own condition and adopt right parenting strategies to stabilize children's psychology.