“We stayed together for the sake of the kids” – how many times have you heard a friend or family member say this?
As a divorce attorney, I hear it on a weekly basis. But the truth is, sometimes waiting to get divorced for the sake of your children is not the right decision. How do you know if you should consider moving ahead with divorce now, versus waiting for the children to leave the house? Here are 10 points to consider:
- Decreased exposure to direct conflict if parents arguing – we can all agree it is not good for kids to see their parents arguing. If exposed to this environment for too long, children can pick up on those bad habits and let them spill over into their own lives – with friends and siblings now, and with their own significant others in the future. Ending the direct conflict that your child sees can help them in immeasurable ways.
- Kids are resilient and learn from different environments – remember how timid or anxious you were about starting your first job? Or even your first day of school each year? I bet you ended up smarter and better prepared for your next step in life after that. Kids of divorce are the same – they may experience anxiousness or shyness when approaching their new normal, but it is completely normal for children in these situations to grow and develop new skills that help them be prepared for their next stage in life.
- Blended families – new sibling relationships, different family traditions, and learning to respect a stepparent are all invaluable skills that children of divorced parents can work towards.
- More Quality time with each parent – some parents even craft their parenting time schedules to provide for individual parenting time with each child. Think about how amazing some quality one-on-one time could be – the things you could do with just one child to give your focus and attention to.
- Increased empathy – develop an understanding of other children of divorce, and how to support them because you know what they’ve been through (for better or for worse!)
- 2 Christmases – OK, but really. Celebrating each holiday twice (even your birthday!) can’t be so bad.
- Happier parent makes for a better home – your child sees and knows whether you are happy, sad, stressed, and the like. If you are happier, your child will pick up on that, and will make for a better home environment for your child.
- They may become more independent – having to navigate two homes, two sets of rules, and two family structures, your child will learn to depend on himself/herself to take on tasks that they may have previously looked for one of their parents to do because there were 2 parents around. With one parent households, children learn independence and can thrive in feeling a sense of accomplishment when new skills are developed.
- Higher achiever – While it may seem illogical, it is not unusual for a child of divorced parents to work harder to want to please both parents, and that can have a positive effect on both academic performance and athletic achievements.
- Increased patience and tolerance – Children of divorce are no strangers to more adult issues in life, which require them to develop coping strategies for these issues. Developing patience and tolerance are just two of the developmental qualities children of divorce can cultivate.