Do Children Benefit from the Divorce of Their Parents?
In speaking to parents, one thing we hear over and over is something to the effect of, “I really think my children benefit from the divorce because…” In 2013, HuffPost Divorce asked the following on Facebook and Twitter:
“We want to know: What’s one way your child has actually benefited from your divorce?”
They have compiled SOME of the responses (the positive ones) and published them in an article titled Divorce And Children: 30 Ways Readers Say Their Children Benefited From Divorce. Many of the replies focus on how much better off the kids must be because the parents are better off (an adult-centered view of divorce at best).
Kudos to Vicki Larson (#6 of 31) who did list some benefits to her kids but concluded by saying
“All in all, pretty good lessons. But, I’d recommend other ways to learn them.”
The original Facebook post has been deleted, but here is what I shared:
“In my experience, parents and their kids may have completely different views on the divorce and the effects thereof. We, as parents, may think something benefited our kids that they would gladly trade to have their family back together. At the risk of offending some people, the theory of “trickle down happiness” is an adult concoction, and I suspect that most (not all, but most) kids would not buy into that as a benefit of divorce. My goal in stating this is not to blame or offend or cast aspersions. It is only that we may endeavor to see our decisions through the eyes of our kids.”
I thought Elizabeth Jurenovich offered an even better insight:
“Try and reframe it however you like; the truth is that children are resilient but divorce very rarely “benefits” children. The fact that my children survived the split doesn’t mean it was “beneficial” in the long run, because the splintering of promises on which the foundation of their lives was built is their lifelong burden to bear.”
What are your thoughts? Are there any benefits? What is the cost of any potential benefits? How do we acknowledge and help kids to harness the potential lessons they can learn from their parents’ divorce without minimizing the pain involved in the process? Please weigh in below in the comments section.
For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.
This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on January 31, 2013.