Divorce is never easy, but it’s so much harder when you have to worry not just about yourself, but about your children too.
How does divorce affect children? That’s a good question, but unfortunately there is no one definite answer for this question. It really depends, but the good news it’s not always as catastrophic as one might imagine.
The answer will depend on so many factors, including:
- the age of your kids,
- their emotional makeup and how they react to any changes in general,
- their relationship with your spouse,
- how you and your spouse communicate and handle the whole thing.
While in general divorce can be extremely stressful event for your children and may be one of the most stressful events in their entire lives, it can also pass relatively smoothly and have a minimum impact on them. So the answer to this question really is “It depends“.
Shall we stay together for our kids?
If there is any chance to save your marriage and if you think it’s a wise thing to do, by all means do that! According to statistics, 75 percent of second marriages fail, so your first marriage is definitely worth the effort.
However in some cases staying together is not a good option. If your environment is hostile, if you are constantly arguing and are not willing to stop, if your spouse is physically, mentally or verbally abusive to you or your children or if he is an alcoholic, your children will be better off if you divorce.
Another thing to consider is that, depending on the age of your children, they will probably grow up in a few short years and start adult lives of their own. While most of us do a lot of sacrifices for our children, you don’t want to be in a place where you made way too many sacrifices they haven’t even asked for and find yourself unable to let them go once they are adults.
If you are mistreated or living with a partner who doesn’t want to be with you, staying in such conditions for years might be too much to sacrifice. Whether consciously or unconsciously, you might hold your kids responsible for this experience and, ironically, this might put strain on your relationship with them when they are adults.
So, if there was one piece of advice, we would say keep it balanced. Keep it healthy. There are ways to minimize impact of divorce on your children and we are going to discuss that in a moment.
How to minimize the impact of divorce on children?
First of all, agree with your spouse to never argue in front of your children. If there is something important to discuss and there is a possibility that you will become emotional or even yell or cry, do this when children are not around. Ask your parents to take care of them for a while or meet outside of your home. Despite what many websites say, discussing divorce issues outside of your home is not a very bad idea, because if you tend to become emotional or if your partner tends to be verbally or even physically abusive, being outside and seen by other people will force you both to behave (click here to read our article on how to end a relationship with minimum damage possible). If you have children, it’s another good reason to take your talks outside of your home.
Another important thing you can do to minimize the effect of divorce on your children is to preserve routine. Your children should be doing same things they usually do, like waking up and sleeping at the same time, eating normal meals, go to school, do homework and play with their friends. Do not start spoiling them by bringing them unexpected gifts; they will sense that something is wrong. Do not allow things you usually don’t allow them. Keep it exactly same. Routine is very important for children and is incredibly relaxing. You don’t want to change their routine, the only thing you could do is, perhaps, to take them to a sports class or something similar to keep them too busy and too tired to worry about you and your spouse.
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