The word “divorce” has negative connotations for most people. After all, why would a divorce be a good thing? A divorce splits up a family. It forces one household into two. If children are involved, they have to be shuttled between two parents. Many are used as pawns by parents looking to seek revenge on each other.
While many parents delay their divorce plans because of their children, this may not be the best idea. Divorce can actually be good for children in some situations. Children actually feel more stressed being in a home filled with tension because the parents are choosing to stay together “for the sake of the children.” The better option often is to get a divorce and allow each parent to live their own lives, without tension.
You may be thinking: won’t a divorce have harmful effects on the children? Won’t making them leave the family home upset them? Won’t shuttling the kid back and forth make life confusing for them? What about their grades? Can we just avoid all these concerns and stay married?
If you and your spouse cannot stand each other, and all you do is argue, then keep in mind that you are subjecting the children to this behavior. Kids want to grow up in a happy, stable environment. The status of their parents’ marriage does not really affect them too much. While some kids suffer negative effects from their parents’ divorce, most—80%—do not. Their grades, social lives and self-esteem do not suffer. They do well in school, have friends, graduate high school, go on to college and live successful lives.
You can raise happy children in a variety of environments. While it is often ideal for children to have both parents involved in their lives, being married is not the only way to go about it. Children can still thrive when their parents are not living under the same roof.
In the past 40 years, literally thousands of studies have been done on the effects of children after their parents divorce. As long as they get a supportive childhood—which is the product of good parenting and communication—they will suffer no ill effects.
What can Parents do?
So, what exactly do children need in order to thrive after divorce? The biggest factor is two adults who can get along, whether it is their mother and father or two other primary caregivers, such as grandparents. The parents do not have to love each other or even like each other, but they should get along with each other and have some respect for each other.
Children also require access to basic human needs, such as food, housing, and clothing. They should also have access to medical care and education. While children do need at least the bare minimum, and it is great if they have even more, they do not need to be spoiled. A room filled with toys does not replace a parent’s love.
Parents should also be emotionally stable. They should be two adults who are able to focus on the basic job of parenting. Parenting is a hard job that involves promoting stability, discipline, and love.
Marriage is Not a Requirement
At the end of the day, a child does not need his or her parents to be married. Married parents do not determine a child’s success in life, but love and stability do. While being a single parent can be tough emotionally and financially, the mere fact that a person is not married will not cause harm to their children. Children are resilient and can be successful in non-traditional family environments.
Parenting after a divorce, however, is not easy. Parents need to take extra care to respect each other and be kind, despite the circumstances. They need to ensure their children are loved. They need to work harder to create a bond with their children.
Focusing on the children can actually become easier once the marriage ends. There is no longer the tension involved with being married to someone with whom you cannot get along. You do not have anyone to yell at or blame for everything. Once you are divorced, it is just you and the kids. You no longer have to live with the other parent, so with that stressor gone, you can focus on maintaining your children’s stability. You can bring your own strengths when it comes to raising your children. There is now more freedom in your life, so you can create new routines.
Divorce is common. Nearly half of marriages end in divorce, and many of them have kids involved. Your children likely know many children whose parents are divorced. Many children go through it and survive. As long as you and the other parent work hard to create the best experience possible for your children, they will survive divorce as well.
Seek Legal Help
While everyone wants to keep their families together, sometimes divorce is truly the better option. Kids need to feel safe and protected, and when their parents are constantly fighting, it brings about immense stress. It causes children to lose focus and that is when they start to develop behavioral and emotional problems.
If divorce has been on your mind, but you have been delaying it because of your kids, it may be time to just move on. Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can handle your questions and concerns and make the process for you and your children. Contact our office to learn more. Schedule a consultation today by calling (954) 346-6464.