It is natural to believe that your relationship with your spouse is going to last until death do us part, but of course divorce rates belie that expectation. Few marriages are fairy tales and while many are strong and lasting, despite much effort, some marital relationships end.
Concern for kids facing divorce
People legitimately worry about their kids when marriage ends in divorce. They wonder whether their children can weather the storm and come out on the other side at a healthy place. The answer is that positive outcomes are possible for children who experience their parents’ divorce.
For example, the family home may have been a difficult place if the parents often argued, or tension became the normal atmosphere. Moving into a new living situation where parents live separately, each creating a happier, more balanced home for their kids, may arguably be better for children. Yes, their parents are divorced, but the children no longer must walk on eggshells at home. They can relax and live at each parental home more peacefully.
More benefits for children
Other potential benefits of divorce for children:
- Each parent can focus on their children when they are together instead of on the conflict with their former spouse.
- Children gain deeper understanding of life’s complexities and how to respond with healthy boundaries. Along with that understanding comes greater empathy for others in difficult circumstances.
- More opportunities may develop for involvement and relationship-building with grandparents and extended family members on both sides.
- Children understand that people can resolve conflict and take that lesson into their own relationships.
Seek professional support
It may be wise to seek counseling for a child who is not bouncing back or is displaying worrisome symptoms. Professional support may be especially important when the former family situation included extremely negative, unhealthy, dangerous or even violent aspects.
Each parent can foster growth in their children after divorce, including age-appropriate behavior modeling and discussion about how to learn from the family’s history and use those lessons going forward in life.
As one divorced mother wrote, “[T]he most important factor in a child’s life is love. And two single-parent households can offer just as much support and love as intact families. When you look at your split as a chance to discover deeper love and big lessons, the long-term effects of divorce on children can be positive.”