Why does the child of divorce wonder, “Where Will I Sleep Tonight?”


Sad and depressed boy

Why do children of divorce wonder, Where will I sleep tonight?

These children face many stressful issues, and sometimes wondering where they will lay their head is a big worry.

To adults, this might sound a little ridiculous. We all know where we will sleep tonight. Children of divorce, though, do actually worry about this question.

Even with a schedule and consistency in their homes, many children wonder, when one parent moves out, what will happen in other areas of their lives.

  • What will I eat for dinner?
  • What if there isn’t enough food for the whole family?
  • Who’s going to pick me up after school?
  • What if my parents forget? How will I get home today?
  • What if both my parents don’t want me? What will I do?
  • What if I have to sleep someplace else and don’t have my favorite teddy bear or blanket?

Why would children wonder where they will sleep?

The question of where will I sleep tonight? seems to represent many other stressors children face.

  1. If the parent the child lives with is in shock about the divorce, that parent might barely exist. The parent hasn’t thought to sit and talk with the child about the divorce.
  1. When my husband left our home, I was in such a state that, honestly, I didn’t know what my kids ate for dinner for several months. It was all I could do to go to work, make it back home, and then slump in a chair or head for the bedroom.
  1. If the parent has turned to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism, that parent might not be capable of parenting. An older child might be in charge of the household and sometimes even overseeing the parent. If the parent doesn’t come home at night or forgets and leaves the children at school, childcare, or even alone at home, the children will worry and wonder what will happen to the parent.
  1. If the parent has an Internet addiction and is always texting, Facebooking, or using another social network, the parent might be physically present but not paying any attention to the child.
  1. If the parent is addicted to or views a lot of porn, the children might feel cast aside, as if they don’t exist anymore. They are left on their own to navigate a maze of emotions. Sometimes the emotions are overwhelming and leave the children fearful and lonely.

Many of these children of divorce will be out of control. The constant worry and stress they are under frustrates them to no end. This is just one reason that behavior problems escalate when there is a divorce.


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