Earlier this week, we began a discussion about “staying together for the sake of the kids.” Divorce is not an easy decision to make, particularly when you worry about how it will affect the children. This is an especially difficult decision in light of decades of studies showing the social, emotional, psychological and academic consequences that children can experience as a result of parental divorce.
That being said, it should be noted that these negative outcomes are not inevitable. And if the divorce is handled in a healthy, child-centered way, kids can actually be happier with divorced parents than with parents who stayed together for their sake. They may even grow up to thank their parents for making the difficult decision to get a divorce.
This was the subject of an article written by a woman named Tara Eisenhard. She was 13 years old when her parents separated. She says that she was initially angry at both of her parents for ending their relationship. But over time, she says, “I began to see divorce not as a problem itself, but as a much-needed solution to a problem.”
Eisenhard observes that her parents were able to grow as individuals because of the divorce. She was also able to develop a close, personal relationship with each of her parents in ways that she might not have if they had stayed together.
Finally, Eisenhard notes that she is a child of divorce, but is not “broken” in the ways that studies often predict. She doesn’t suffer from deep-seated emotional issues, she didn’t experience academic problems or teen pregnancy or drug/alcohol abuse.
The one child-of-divorce trait that has held true for her is that children of divorce may be more likely to get divorced themselves as adults. However, her parents modeled cooperation and civility that she was able to emulate when she got a divorce. Eisenhard notes that ending a relationship takes cooperation. She adds: “I firmly believe that divorce should be viewed as an evolutionary process for families. Seeing dissolution sets everyone up for disappointment.”
If you are struggling with the idea of staying married to your spouse for the sake of your children, it is decision that only the two of you can make. In many cases, it is not an easy one. Hopefully, however, the two perspectives we shared this week will be food for thought.
Source: The Huffington Post, “5 Ways My Parents’ Divorce Affected My Adult Relationships,” Tara Eisenhard, Nov. 3, 2014