Many parents decide to stay together for the children because they worry that coming from a “broken” home will have a negative impact on them. Doing some extra work to ensure children come out on the other side of divorce in one piece is worth it. Two happy homes are better than one toxic home for them overall, especially if the marriage involves a toxic, abusive environment.
It’s a restructured home, not a broken home.
The idea that a home is broken simply because of divorce is false. Two separate, post-divorce homes can be just as whole- and even happier- than one toxic home. When a child grows up in a stressful home environment, full of constant bickering, complaining, and even physical and mental abuse, they can mimic that type of behavior in their own adult relationships.
Choosing to separate and build two loving, secure, happy homes is actually a much better option for children overall. While it’s true that some children need a little extra help during and after a divorce, such as academic intervention services or a therapist, most of the time this extra help is only necessary for a year or two. After that initial period of adjustment, many children of divorced parents thrive and go on to live perfectly happy lives.
Security is key for children after a divorce.
The biggest thing that children struggle with after a divorce is a feeling of insecurity. Their entire lives are flipped upside down, and many have to change homes, schools and leave some of their friends behind. The most important thing parents can do during this time is to provide their children with as much security as possible.
That security is created through a positive co-parenting relationship, open communication so that your children feel like they can express their feelings and a constant reminder of your love for them. Although the physical circumstances of their lives may be changing, the emotional circumstances will only be improving. That knowledge can go a long way in providing a sense of security for children during this period of transformation.
Just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean your children will get divorced.
Some believe that their divorce will somehow “rub off” on their children. It’s not divorce that causes damage to children, though. It’s how you and your ex handle the divorce.
If two parents choose to separate with respect and do their best to co-parent effectively, children of divorce actually fare far better than children whose parents chose to stay in an unhappy marriage. Those who live in a toxic environment are exposed to more conflict on a regular basis. Constant conflict growing up is what makes it difficult for them to have healthy relationships as they grow into adulthood. Children from divorced homes aren’t actually more likely to divorce. Those who come from a family with a high level of conflict are.
A happy home starts with you.
Deciding to get a divorce is not easy, but once you do make that decision, you don’t want it to be in vain. This is your second chance at building the happy home both you and your children deserve.
There are some things you can do to make your new home successful:
- Respect your co-parent, even when they are difficult to deal with.
- Encourage positive communication in your household. Always give your children a safe space to speak openly with you about their feelings.
- Keep other aspects of your children’s lives as consistent as possible, for instance, allow them to engage in their normal extracurricular activities. Stay in touch with their friends. Have a consistent before and after school routine.
- Ensure they have positive, adult role models in their life, especially if your co-parent is lacking in that area.
- Teach them positive ways to cope with their feelings.
- Support their desires to grow and change. So that they learn to appreciate the decision you made to move on and be happy.
- Seek professional help for yourself and your children whenever it’s needed.
A toxic home environment can be detrimental to children. While the adjustment period after a divorce can be challenging, with the right tools and a little bit of time, you’ll find that two happy homes are much better for you and your children than one toxic home.