One of the most common reasons cited for couples no longer in love actually staying in their marriages is “we did it for the good of the children.” Is that necessarily a good decision? In this article, we’ll discuss the findings that indicate some children actually do better when their parents’ divorce.
Children Affected by Divorce
Research tells us that 50% of all children in North America will experience the divorce of their parents before their 18th birthday. While there’s often a natural tendency to keep the marriage together on behalf of the children, there are studies that show many children end up doing quite well in their lives after their parents chose to divorce.
One study in particular – carried out by E. Mavis Hetherington for her book, For Better or Worse: Divorce Reconsidered – was three-decades in length, and followed more than 2,500 children of divorced parents. Interesting findings from that study include:
- 75-80% of them said they were able to adapt to their new lives are functioning well
- 70% of the children who were/are in stepfamilies described themselves being “pretty happy”
- 70% of the parents said they now look upon their divorce as a “speed bump in the road”
Hetherington, a professor emeritus in the University of Virginia’s department of psychology, went so far as to say that within two years after their parents’ divorce, most children begin to function reasonably well.
Because everyone is different, there are a host of studies easily found that show children of divorce are prone to negative life experiences. In other words, there is no single way to calculate how all children will react after their parents divorce.
Ways that Divorce Benefits Children
In Hetherington’s study, there were a host of ways in which children were shown to have benefitted from divorce, including children:
- Being happier when they saw that their parents were happier as individuals
- Able to experience each parent as a complete parent – able to provide nurturing, home duties, etc. – through shared custody
- Becoming more resilient and adaptable in how to deal with changes in life
- Having more empathy for others because they relate more to problems experienced by others
- Enjoying stronger relationships – even marriage – because of their learning from their parents’ mistakes.
Men’s Legal Center: The Man’s Divorce Resource
We love children and certainly believe that being a parent can be one of life’s most wonderful experiences. If you’re considering divorce and have children, there’s no doubt they will be impacted in some way. But there’s no universal way for how they will react. The important thing is to do what you can to remain an integral part of their lives.
The Men’s Legal Center of San Diego is committed to making sure you have the quality time with your children that you’re entitled to. Call us at (619) 234-3838.