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Is It Better for Parents to Stay Together or Divorce?

Many parents worry that their separation or divorce will negatively impact their children. To avoid hurting their child, some parents stay together until their child is older (or an adult). It is important to note that divorce can affect your children’s mental and emotional health as well as their life regardless of their age; research even suggests that adult children have a harder time adjusting to and accepting their parents’ divorce.

So, should parents stay together rather than divorce their children? There is no black or white answer here, and the answer to whether parents should stay together can only be answered by those parents. Your child can be affected by either decision.

In making a decision, parents should consider the environment their children will have if they stay together or separate. Children are negatively affected by chronic conflict, parental discontent, and other negative energy in their home lives. If you stay together and project negative energy or constantly have conflict in the home, they may suffer more if you stay together. However, they may struggle just as much with your divorce if it is contentious.

What Factors Determine How Well a Child Adjusts to a Parental Divorce?

As we mentioned, though, your child will likely be affected by your divorce as well. How they respond and are affected can vary based on a host of specific circumstances, such as:

  • Their access to both parents. The best interest of the child is the court’s top priority in child custody determinations, and a key factor in their best interest is whether both parents will foster a relationship between the child and the other parents (when possible and safe for the child). Children often struggle to adjust after a divorce if they do not get as much quality time with either parent. While you cannot control whether the other party shows up to exchanges or drop-offs, you can encourage the relationship and the other party to show up for your child.
  • The level of parental conflict. As we mentioned, children may feel isolated, alone, bad, or hurt when parents fight, criticize one another, or place them in the middle of disagreements. If they are exposed to conflict between their parents, they may struggle to adjust.
  • How each parent adjusts to the divorce. Children often look to their parents for guidance and as an example, and they may follow either parent’s lead concerning how they respond to the divorce. Parents should be a role models for how you can healthily honor and process your emotions, be communicative, and be consistent.
  • The child’s developmental age. Your child’s age can impact how they understand and are impacted by the divorce, and each developmental age can present different challenges. For instance, younger children may struggle with not seeing a parent regularly and may not understand the change in their schedule; older children (like preteens), on the other hand, may struggle with placing blame on either parent or themselves.
  • The level of support the child receives. During your divorce, your child may struggle with feelings of anxiety or insecurity, and they may worry about how the divorce will affect their relationship with each of the parents. Parents should reassure their children of their love for them, and they should also ask teachers, coaches, family members, and friends to provide additional support to their children. Whether that means being a listening ear or a safe place, your child can benefit from being surrounded by community.
  • The information the child has concerning the divorce. When you tell your children that you are divorcing, you may include details about why you are separating (depending on what you and the other party agree upon and the child’s age). Be mindful of how much you share and whether the information is age appropriate. Children may struggle more if they receive information that is not helpful. When you break the news, try to focus on reminding them that your love for them hasn’t changed and address immediate concerns (i.e. where they will live, whom they will live with, whether they will change schools, etc.).
  • The child’s personality. Children can respond differently to their parent’s divorce because of the difference in their personalities. Parents should monitor their children and take note of any changes in their behavior (especially withdrawing or lashing out).
  • The child’s ability to cope with change and stress. Parents should take time to ensure their child has healthy ways of processing their emotions as well as coping with their feelings. Whether they need help handling the stress of the situation or all the change that comes with divorce, your child will need healthy ways of coping.

Ways A Divorce Can Positively Affect Children

Oftentimes, people highlight the negative impacts of divorce. However, divorce can benefit and positively impact your children. For instance, your divorce may allow for your child to:

  • Be more relaxed.
  • Be more resilient and adaptable.
  • Have more empathy.
  • Become more self-sufficient.
  • Develop stronger relationships with both parents.
  • Value relationships (including romantic relationships) even more
  • Become closer with their siblings or other family members/friends
  • Develop better communication skills and coping methods

Affordable & Quick Divorce Services

For only $29 down, Cairns Law Offices can help you file a no-fault, uncontested divorce. Because you agree on the terms of your divorce, an uncontested divorce can benefit you and your children because of the ease of the experience. Using our online services also makes the process even easier and more efficient.

Learn more about our services by calling (888) 863-9115 or reaching out online.
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