The other day I read an article on Facebook about a mom who wrote into a magazine and asked:
“Will my kids be screwed up if I get a divorce??”
This question has been stuck in my head ever since.
The expert from the magazine column answered the mom’s question with information about statistics of divorce and separation, discussing the increased chances for behavioral issues with kids who come from split families. In a round about way, she told the Mom, yes, there is a higher chance your kids will be screwed up if you get a divorce.
Statistics are great for a lot of things. But when it comes to your own family, and situations where you have control over many of the contributing factors that ultimately lead to whether you become a statistic, my question is… Why are you writing into column for an answer about your own family?
You should be asking YOURSELF…. Are my kids going to be screwed up by my divorce?
or better yet…
Will I let my kids be screwed up by my divorce?
The answer to these questions will help you figure out your answer:
* Am I going to shelter my kids from any conflict or disagreement that occurs between myself and my ex? OR Am I going include them by giving them information about adult issues, causing them stress and anxiety?
* Am I going to let my kids overhear parenting disagreements between my ex and I OR are we going to present as a united front and co-parent together (no matter how much we may dislike each other).
* Am I going to indirectly (or directly) make comments that put down my ex and their decisions OR or am I going to remember that putting down my ex both confuses and hurts my child?
*Am I going to play “tit for tat” with my ex, and use the kids as leverage to blackmail and get what I want? OR will I leave the adult problems to the adults, and make sure the kids never suffer?
All that being said, I am not writing this blog to say that kids can go through their parents divorce completely unaffected. Unfortunately, that is not true.
No matter what, does it suck to have your parents divorced? Absolutely.
Is it unsettling to have two different homes and two different sets of belongings? 100%
Twenty plus years later, does it still kind of bug me that my parents aren’t together? You bet!
But it hasn’t SCREWED me up. I am not some delinquent with attachment and relationship issues like the statistics predicted I would be. It was (and is) difficult thing to go through, but at the end of the day I have come to terms with it. Life goes on…
When a couple gets divorced they need to remember that at one point in time, together they made the decision to bring a child into the world. Even though you’ve decided that your relationship is over, your commitment to that child never ends! It’s not the kids fault that their parents couldn’t make their marriage work… so ensure that they are not collateral damage in your battle.