It’s inevitable that this thought passes through your head when you’ve tried to make things work with your partner, reaching the very difficult realization that you may need a divorce.
But, what about the kids? This is a question that certainly worries many couples who find that this is the way they’d like to proceed. We’ve all heard terrible stories on the great impact a divorce can have on kids.
So, should we stay together?
People associate divorce directly with children being affected. Yes, having two different households and not being able to see both parents together does have its toll on kids. But psychological studies show that what affects them the most is witnessing too much conflict and having the stress of living under it.
So, if you are living in constant conflict and stress and are unhappy in your relationship, divorce is an option you could contemplate.
According to Psychology Today:
In the long term, however, divorce can lead to happier outcomes for children. When parents are arguing or incompatible in a deep and lasting way, divorce can be a relief for children, a chance to breathe healthier air, free of the tensions of an unhappy relationship. When changes in family structure are handled well, children experience a temporary disruption but can achieve long-term resiliency and strength.
Children can be very resilient. Even if they struggle with changes in living arrangements, setting up how their calendars will be working, etc, they will slowly, but steadily start healing.
What problems do children experience when their parents split up?
Children can go through very different emotions when they find out their parents will be separating, some of them include:
- distress, anger, anxiety, and disbelief
- fear, neediness, regression
- a sense of guilt and/or blame
- academic problems
- disruptive behaviors
- substance use
- emotional problems
- risk-taking behavior
Factors that lower the impact of divorce
Donna, Matthews, P.h.D., says children will bounce back and will not show any of those academic, behavioral, or psychological problems. If they feel that at least one parent:
- Ensures the children feel safe and secure
- Is warm, affectionate, and open with the children
- Respects and speaks well of the other parent
- Co-operates with the other parent about matters that involve the children
- Facilitates ongoing, regular, and dependable contact with the other parent
- Has clear and reasonable expectations of the children
- Provides close but respectful monitoring
- Supports empowerment and autonomy
- Teaches good problem-solving and coping skills
- Maintains a network of social support with extended family, neighbors, and community
- Seeks professional help for self or children as needed
In the end, only you and your spouse can decide what is better for the kids, always keeping their best interest in mind. Ask yourselves if your children can have a better environment if you stay together or if you are apart. Divorce might even make you become a better parent.