Divorce dialogues: You handled the divorce like a diplomat but the kids are still pissed at you?

Divorce sucks. It is hard, if not unreasonable, to expect the kids to take it in stride. It is your divorce. The kids didn’t ask for one. Don’t expect them to take the horrific news as if it’s nothing. A divorce basically uproots a kid’s life. Literally. Often times they don’t even end up living in the same home they used to. Sometimes you are even asking them to move. Across country. Across oceans to start all over again, with new friends, new neighbors, new schools, a new house, and a new identity.
Research shows that kids of different ages react differently to divorce. Younger kids for example, are more likely to take it in stride than, say, teenagers. Teenagers and divorce can be like oil and water. They can lash out at the parent, blame you for “ruining” their lives; blame you for being “selfish” and thinking only of yourself; blame your for “wrecking” their happy home life. What that means is that you could be in for months or even years of acting out behavior, rebelliousness, silent treatment and finger-pointing.
Plus, your divorce can depress your kids. They literally become depressed. They tune out from life, friends and routines. They start to feel like it’s their fault and blame themselves when clearly it is not their fault.
What can a parent do? It’s hard. But continue to be a diplomat. Speak well of the other parent. Let the child know it’s not his or her fault that your marriage cracked up. If all else fails, enlist the help of a therapist. But I put the word help in quotes.  Because the therapist does not replace the parent’s role as the first line of defense in helping the child cope with this new situation. After all, it’s your divorce. You are the one and your spouse, who is to blame for this thing. Don’t more off your responsibility towards the child on a therapist. But get a therapist to help if you are feeling overwhelmed by this.
And above all, exercise patience. Kids, especially older kids and teenagers, are emotional creatures whose moods are fluid. They may be pissed at you now, but with enough diplomacy from you and your spouse, they will come around. Just try to see to it that too much doesn’t change all at once. At the bare minimum, see if it is at all possible to allow the kids to remain the home in which they grew up.