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Can divorce benefit your kids?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | Divorce |

Every parent who finds themselves in an unhappy marriage worries about what effect a divorce will have on their children. After all, children of divorce were once commonly thought to suffer a great deal, emotionally, from the upheaval in their lives caused by their divorcing parents and all the changes that follow.

To a certain extent, that is true – but only when the parents’ marriage seemed to be stable in the first place. For the children of parents in “high-conflict” marriages, a divorce is actually a relief. They’re less likely to suffer from emotional disorders than their counterparts in “intact” families where the parents constantly fight because:

1. They have less exposure to conflict

All the tension, hostility and arguments that go on in a high-conflict marriage can create a toxic environment for children, leading to anxiety and depression. A divorce will remove the children from that daily barrage. They may have to split their time between two households, but the atmosphere in both may be more peaceful than their current situation.

2. They may benefit from closer parental contact

The hostility between an unhappy couple takes a lot of energy to maintain, and the constant fights can be time-consuming. That leaves parents in high-conflict marriages with less time and energy to focus on their children. After a divorce, those emotional and physical drains are removed, leaving each party with more time and ability to be an engaged parent.

3. They can witness better relationship dynamics

Children learn what’s acceptable in a relationship by watching those around them. When they have high-conflict parents, they may internalize dysfunctional ways of communication or conflict resolution. Divorce allows parents to model healthier behaviors, both in their interactions with each other and in future romantic relationships. Children can witness firsthand the value of good boundaries, self-respect and effective communication with others.

If you’re putting off a divorce because it will disrupt your children’s lives, it may be time to reframe your thinking. Learning more about the legal process may also help.