Children are often portrayed as the losers in divorce because the assumption is that they would be better off with two parents in the same household, rather than shuffling between homes, or worse, being used as a pawn in the larger divorce fight. However, it is possible for divorce to be beneficial for children. Here’s how.
1) Happier adults make happier children. If two people together are truly miserable, that misery will inevitably cascade onto the children of the marriage. The children may be brought into the overall unhappiness between the partners and be asked to take sides. Divorce in this case can free all of the parties from this tension because it allows the adults to remove the main stressor from their lives and start working on a new life. There are huge caveats, of course, namely that this process may take some time for everyone, but in the end, the net benefits of happiness can outweigh everything else.
2) You can teach your kids a really valuable lesson on working together. One of the hardest skills to master as an adult is being able to work effectively toward a common goal with someone who is diametrically opposed to them. Couples who divorce and then co-parent have a rich opportunity to show their children how to work with someone else with whom they may not get along with or even necessarily like. Modeling this incredibly difficult skill for your children will pay off for them down the road as they begin to navigate the world as adults.
3) You can teach your children about respect. There is a reason divorcing parents are counseled not to speak badly of their partner or future co-parent. This is partly because just divorce may end the relationship on paper, but the parties will still need to work together to parent. But, the other reason is that how a parent talks about their co-parent teaches their children how to treat people from all walks of life, even those they may not like at all. It also models to them how to be an adult in a relationship, even if that relationship goes sour. These are invaluable skills for your children to pick up when they get older.
4) They might get two extra parents out of the deal. Step-parents get a bad rap many times. They step into what can be a fraught situation and try to make the best of it. Sometimes, though, the partners that co-parents find themselves with can enhance the lives of the children involved. In the best case scenario, a child can get an additional two parents who are loving and supportive of them.
5) They end up with more one-on-one time with both parents. Assuming divorcing parents opt for joint custody and the children move between homes, it is very possible that the children will be able to have to time to develop a closer relationship with either parent since the other parent is no longer there during visits.
Divorce is never easy and certainly not for the children involved. However, it is possible for silver linings to be found in the numerous clouds both for you and for your children. If you are getting divorced or looking at divorce, contact Melissa Pearce and let her help you navigate the process. She has been where you are and understands what you are going through and what you need. Contact her today to get started.
~Originally Posted in August 2017~