Parents considering divorce are often very concerned about the effects it can have on their children. While it’s true that this time is almost always stressful for a child, for high-conflict marriages and situations in which the home environment has become untenable, staying in a marriage “for the kids” may not be in their best interest.
Without discounting the emotional upheaval a divorce can cause, here are five ways divorce may turn out to be beneficial for children:
1. Happier parents can lead to happier kids. When a couple can no longer see eye to eye and that adversely affects the happiness of Mom and Dad, those feelings can trickle down to the kids. In particular, when parents are consistently exhibiting anger, conflict or signs of depression, this can strongly impact the emotional well-being of their children. Happy and content individual parents can often be better for kids than an unhappy couple.
2. Less tension in the home leads to less tense kids. When tensions at home subside, so can a child’s anxiety. Kids absorb everything at home, including tension which can lead to anxiety and even poor performance in school. Often after an unhappily married couple separate, the stressful home environment subsides and the kids become happier. Be patient, this can take time - but it helps if you’re moving in the right direction.
3. Being a happy single parent is better than modeling an unhealthy relationship. Your kids deserve good relationships and so do you. When you stay in a tumultuous relationship for the kids, you’re not portraying the kind of relationship you want for your kids. Witnessing conflicted, unloving and uncooperative parental relations can have negative consequences for your child. Although an adjustment period is inevitable, taking care of your own relationship needs teaches your kids not to settle for an unhealthy relationship.
4. Shared custody can lead to more quality time with the kids. Child Custody doesn’t have to be viewed as a negative term. With a structured visitation schedule, shared custody can provide dedicated time for each parent to spend quality time with their kids - without the stress of an unmanageable marital relationship looming overhead. After a divorce, each parent can often spend more dedicated quality time with their kids.
5. Personal happiness teaches kids the same. We want our kids to be happy and sometimes we forget our own happiness contributes directly the happiness of our kids. The behaviors and emotions you display as an adult serve as a model for how your children will behave and the emotions they will eventually display as adults. By being kind to yourself, as well as those around you, you’ll teach your kids that personal happiness is an important part of life.
Staying together at any cost is not necessarily better for your children than divorce. The happiness of your children is impacted much more by how each parent treats those around them. Remember, your kids learn from you; try to model the life that you wish them to have.