There is much media coverage about the impact of divorce on children. Unfortunately, much of this focus is on the negative effects. What you might not realize is that divorce has some positive effects on your child as well. Here are the benefits that divorce will provide for your children, along with what to expect, some great resources on navigating the area of divorce and children, and how divorce may impact your adult children living at home…
You’ll now have a conflict-free home
If you chose to stay together for the sake of your child instead of getting a divorce, your child would continue to live in a home with parents who fight and don’t want to be together. The tension levels in these homes are tremendous and are very damaging to children. By choosing to divorce, you are giving your child two homes where there is no fighting and the focus is on positive things. You will be a better parent who can focus on your children when you no longer have the stress and conflict caused by your ex.
They’ll see compromise in action
If you are able to work through your custody issues and divorce by reaching a settlement, you will show your children that there is always room for compromise and that the mature way to handle conflict is to look for a reasonable solution. Your children will see their parents working together rather than working against one another.
When you choose to divorce, you are empowering yourself to be happy, to make positive changes in your life, and to stand up and say that what you want in life matters. These are important lessons for everyone and things you want your children to be able to do in their own lives. Yes, seeking these things may cause some conflict, but the end result is worth it.
No matter how hard your divorce is, the fact that you are getting through it with your head held high is an important lesson. Your child will see that it is possible to get through things that are challenging and come out the other side in one piece.
Divorce books for kids
Even though there are many benefits to divorce, explaining this to your kids can be hard. It may not be something you have even completely come to grips with yourself and you have to find a way to phrase things the right way, answer hard questions, and work to help your child understand it. Although it is essential that you spend time talking with your child and responding to questions, one great way to help the process along is to buy or borrow some books about divorce and children. There are many wonderful books that explain the situation and help kids think about divorce and realize their situation is not unusual.
- Preschool and elementary-aged kids
Picture books will help your preschool and elementary-age children work through some of the issues in the divorce. Read the books with your child and talk about them after you read them. It is a good idea to read them several times to give your child time to think about the information. Some good picture books about divorce and children are:
- It’s Not Your Fault KoKo Bear by Vicki Lansky
Dinosaurs Divorce by Marc Brown
Two Homes by Claire Masurel
When My Parents Forgot How to Be Friends by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos
- Older kids
Older children need books to read as well. The best plan is to give your child the book then talk about it after he or she has read it. If your child doesn’t want to talk about it, don’t push. Sometimes just giving him or her the book is enough. Some recommended books for preteens and teens include:
- Surviving: Helping Teens Find Peace on the Roller Coaster Ride of Divorce by Joe Wells
A Smart Girl’s Guide to Her Parents’ Divorce by Nancy Holyoke
What in the World Do You Do When Your Parents Divorce? by Kent Winchester
You can probably find many of these resources at your local library. Your child’s school library may also have many books about divorce and children as well.
When your adult children live at home
There is a lot written about parenting and divorce, but almost all of it has to do with minor children. Divorce has important implications for young children and teens and requires careful negotiation, discussions, and legal insight to create a parenting plan that is in their best interests. What no one talks about, however, are the adult children who are living at home and how a divorce affects them. According to the Pew Research Center, 36% of millennials (ages 18 to 36) live at home with their parents. The reasons for this often have to do with the job market, the cost of college, and the financial climate.
When you divorce and have adult kids in your home, you don’t need to negotiate custody and visitation, but you will probably want to talk with them about where they are going to live. If one of you is remaining in the marital home, having an adult child remain in place can make the transition easier for the spouse who will continue to live there. If your child does not pay rent or help with expenses, it may be time to change that, as some additional funds may be needed to continue to pay the mortgage or buy groceries. If your child will be moving out, this adds another layer of change, financial need, and stress to the situation.
Even though your child is an adult, the divorce does have an impact on him or her. It is tempting to speak more freely about the divorce to an adult child, but you should remember that he or she doesn’t want to take sides and doesn’t want to be put in the middle. Adult kids may feel they need to intervene in some way and try to fix or help the situation. As nice as it might be to have your child want to help, it’s generally a bad idea. Try to keep your relationship with your child separate from the divorce and keep his or her involvement to a minimum.
Call DeTorres & DeGeorge for assistance with your divorce or family law case in New Jersey. Reach us at 908-304-9683 for an appointment.