Every Edmonton Divorce parent asks themselves the question ‘What will this do to my kids?’.
Below are the first 100 or so responses to a question that was asked by a concerned mother:
Am I ruining my children by divorcing their father? Children of divorce, please tell me if divorce ruined your life.
I’m curious to know your stories about how your parents divorce impacted you.
652 children of divorce responded to her question.
The following is not edited and contains language that expresses the real feelings of children from divorce. You can read the entire text at http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/oectc/am_i_ruining_my_children_by_divorcing_their/
The text is challenging, raw, and contains many different viewpoints.
For more information about how mediation reduces conflict through the divorce process and encourages more effective co-parenting, contact The Divorce Company at 780.990.0407.
My parents’ divorce was ugly and they were not mature enough to keep the kids out of it. They used us a tools of manipulation, which caused more damage than the actual divorce. I do not have much contact with either parent now (they divorced over twenty years ago).
I have seen other families where the divorce was done in a mature manner and the children were considered throughout every step. The parents were respectful to each other and some of them even remain friends. I think that as long as the adults consider what they say or do and really think about how it will affect their children, divorce can happen without longterm damage. It’s not an easy thing, regardless of how well it goes. I wish you and your children the best!
‘They used us a tools of manipulation’,
My mom did this. As her oldest, she’d tell me all these things about how my dad cheated and then make me repeat them all to him. I absolutely hated this (this started when I was 9 and lasted until I was 12)– it made me hate being alone around her, because I knew she’d just start in on my dad again and make me listen to everything. I went to great lengths to avoid her, or to make sure there were other people around when she did this. No kid wants to hear how their father is a horrible person.
That said, ten years later my parents are on excellent terms with one another, and my youngest brother (who was only two when my mom figured out about the affair) has zero recollection of any problems. He’s much better off for their divorce. And honestly, I know that I am too. It would have been miserable had they stayed together.
keep your kids out of it. completely.
Divorce is OK.
However… Never EVER bad mouth each other to the kids. No matter what the problems are between y’all it has zero to do with the kids. Bad enough when somebody makes “Yo Momma” or “Yo Daddy” jokes, that is just bad humor. But to ever hear something bad said about your Mom/Dad from the other parent really screws up a kids mind bad. Who do they believe?? Who’s side do they take?
Never make your children take sides. The parents problems are not theirs, y’all will always be Dad/Mom no matter how sh**ty y’all may think of each other.
My friend is a sociology professor. He says that divorce statistics aren’t measuring things right.
Children whose parents have an ugly, mean-spirited divorce score statistically lower in things like happiness, GPA, etc.
Children whose parents have a civil, mature divorce score statistically higher.
Likewise, children from unbroken but shrill, immature, angry homes don’t do well. Children from loving mature homes do great.
So it’s not THAT you divorce, it’s HOW you divorce.
When my dad was caught cheating, my parents stayed together. It became a personal hell for me and my siblings. My sister ended up diagnosed with depression, my brother almost flunked out of school, I had to keep both of them afloat while spending every night crying. My mom would go out of her way to hurt my dad, my dad would get fed up with it because he didn’t get the big deal.
Like it was said, it’s not if, it’s how. If my parents had just divorced on normal terms instead of bringing that fight to their kids, I doubt my sister would be unemployed and horribly overweight and sure she’s never good enough. If you don’t get along, do not try to.
What fu**s up your kids is the FIGHTING. If you fight around them, whether it’s about them or not, that is fu**ing them up. If you manage to keep things peaceful and don’t hide it from your kids, help them understand, and make it seem as though it isn’t about anger, but just how things are, kids end up better.
I have a lot of friends who had family issues, so I have a decent sample size. The best-off ones were the ones who had it calmly explained to them every step of the way. They may cry at first, but it is not worth it if you will just fight and be angry if you remain with your spouse. To keep your kids happy, YOU need to be happy, first and foremost. No matter how old the kids are.
I second this, My mom attempted to tell me my father was a child molester for years, caused tons of problems and was complete sh**, it’s impossible to trust anything she says now.
bout the taking sides part. My dad has yet even to this day say anything negative about my mom. My mom started off telling me bullsh** about how I don’t truly know him yadda yadda. That made me lose so much respect for her and gain a lot for him.
You have no idea what your words mean to me. I am divorced from my kids mother and I know she’s poisoning their minds (Eldest is only 5), yet I never say a bad thing and make sure that they get a phone call with their mum every night and record videos where they are saying “Hi mummy, I love you mummy”. I keep pictures of her in their bedroom so they alway see her.
I want their mum to know that her kids will never forget her and will always love her yet she says bad sh** about me to them. Friends and family tell me that the kids will get older and understand the truth and will resent their mum for it. Until I read your post, I never believed it. Now I do.
Same thing with me. My mom rambled negatively about my dad seemingly at every opportunity, while my dad rarely said things about my mom, and what he did was never of a ranting or insulting nature, but rather more matter-of-fact. I still don’t know who was in the wrong, but I lean toward excusing my dad if for no reason other that he was never looking to pin blame on anyone for their separation.
Agreed. Don’t talk sh** about your ex, your children will learn who they are as they grow older. NEVER say anything bad about your ex in front of your kids. NEVER.
This, dear Lord, this. I was the ‘go-between’ for my parents during their divorce, and it really changed how I viewed them and adults overall.
Amen. The worst part of the divorce was hearing my father talk so much sh** about my mother.
While I’ve never been attacked via these kinds of comments, my mother constantly makes my dad sound like a heartless pig with little comments thrown in now and then. Just the other day, I found out I got accepted to my first choice college, and one of the first things she said was (and bitterly laughing while saying it), “Your father is going to be pissed to know you’re going to make more money than him someday.” The must frustrating part is, my father has never once said anything bad about my mom– he just tells me the facts, and he actually helped me a hell of a lot more with college and school than she ever did.
Divorced parents, please, please don’t ever badmouth your ex, or your ex’s family to your children. It is truly one of the most upsetting and infuriating things to have to listen to.
If your relationship is that bad it will probably be worse for the kids to grow up seeing that as how a marriage works.
Unless, of course, your are vindictive and hatefull and pit your kids against the father to do better in the divorce to spite him. Thats the type of sh** in divorces that really fu**s with kids.
Yeah everyone couple or child of a couple I know who’s parents stayed together for the sake of the kids all had rough childhoods and have problems trusting people and maintaining relationships themselves. Or they had to work hard to have a normal stable relationship.
I am not a child of divorce, but my husband is. To hear him tell it, his childhood would have been significantly better if his parents had gotten a divorce when he and his siblings were younger, instead of “staying together for the sake of the kids.”
I have so many friends and my parents have quite a few where the parents stayed together “for the sake of the kids”. I remember going to a friends house once and she gave me a pair of headphones when I arrived, I was pretty confused and then her dad walked into the house and the argument started. We watched the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy with headphones on so we couldn’t hear them – and at one point her little brother came in and tried to hide under the bed so he couldn’t hear the argument. Both my friend and her brother say now they wish their parents had divorced years ago.
So unless you can be pretty nice to each other, you’re best off getting divorced.
No. I loved it when my parents divorced. Everything became much more peaceful and civilized within the family unit. Plus, double presents.
Seriously! Holidays are so exhausting when you have like 6 stops you’re required to make between divorced families. One year I’m just going to pick favorites and say to hell with the rest.
My parents hid all of their fighting from us and divorced really civilly with 50/50 shared custody. I’ve never seen them really fight ever and that’s pretty awesome looking back on it –that they were able to do that. I think I grew up fine. Double presents were pretty awesome too.
My parents divorced when I was 27, and you’d like to think you’re all grown up at that point, but I think it still impacts you no matter what the age.
It wasn’t the divorce that hurt – it was one of my parents using us to lash out at the other one. No child at no age needs to be told that what makes half of him or her is garbage, evil or worthless – because they take it as a criticism of themselves.
Be civil, take the high road, and even if things get stressed between you two as you go through it, keep a united emotional front for your kids.
I started to tell the story of my life, but instead, I’m just going to give the best advice I can give to any estranged parents.
Never, EVER badmouth the other parent to your child.
If the other person really is evil, and a true threat to the child, don’t let them have contact with one another. Otherwise, let the kids see for themselves. They can tell when they’re being manipulated.
You’re doing your children an injustice by staying in an unhappy marriage. One important thing to remember is this: NEVER speak badly about the ex in front of your kids. The two of you should treat each other with respect for your kids’ sake. I raised two girls alone for 14 yrs. My ex-husband and I remained cordial for their benefit. Please, do this.
You are ruining their childhood by staying with him.
I’d rather 2 semi happy homes compared to one miserable one.
Let’s whip out an alt for this one.
Okay, I’m glad my parents got divorced, because they never should have married each other in the first place (although I’m glad they did, just because I wouldn’t exist otherwise). My brother and I were spared a lot of fighting. And by all measures they had a “good divorce” – amiable and fair, with no custody battles or arguing in front of us.
HOWEVER, here’s what made my childhood suck a little: lots of daycare, then being a latchkey kid, my mom always being tired because she never got a break between parenting and working, money was always tight, having a visiting schedule, but most of all, having to live with a constant string of live-in boyfriends and girlfriends with both parents.
Turns out neither of my parents was any good at picking a good partner for their subsequent tries, so my brother and I had to deal with losers sharing our house with our mom, and weirdos sharing our weekends with dad. It was always, ALWAYS awkward. When either one of our parents weren’t dating, we could just be a family of 3. When there was a boyfriend or girlfriend in the mix (some of which had kids of their own) suddenly we had to structure everything around them.
To sum up, divorcing isn’t the end of the world, and it’s better than raising your kids in a bad marriage, but it’s not great for your kids either, no matter what they say at the time. (of course we always told our parents we were happy. If we had said no, they’d just get upset and then we’d have to deal with that too.)
My relationship with both of my parents (especially my dad) improved after their divorce. I would say though that you should remain in the same regional area as your husband. Don’t run off with your kids across the country.
Then you should do what is best for you and your husband. The kids may have difficulty at first, but in the long run it is better to have separated but happy parents vs. miserable but married parents.
It also largely depends on how you both handle yourselves and the situation with the children. Divorce doesn’t traumatize children but bad parenting management (withholding from them, using them as pawns, etc.) does.
Growing up in an unhappy unified household is worse than growing up in split-but-happy households.
It absolutely saved my life. My parents fought ALL THE TIME. It was tearing the family apart. Post-divorce life was just fine for me. I get along with both of my parents and I don’t mind the two christmases.
I wish my parents had divorced sooner, but my brother wanted them to stay together, so they stayed together – each saying nasty things about the other to us – until my mother finally got her degree and got the hell out of there.
There are aspects of being a ‘child of divorce’ that aren’t great but to be honest I was happy when my dad moved out because they both seemed happier and the house was less tense. Just please make sure your children have someone they can talk to because I bottled everything up at the time and I’m dealing with it now.
I’m a child of divorce too, but unlike everyone else who’s posted so far, I’m sick of pretending like it didn’t affect me and that I wasn’t miserable. Like you, I didn’t have anyone to talk to. My parents wanted to send me to a group at the school I went to, but I was in third grade. I wasn’t going to talk in front of my peers, possibly cry in front of them. When I look back on the divorce and the years following, it still hurts. My parents didn’t get along, even after the divorce. They can barely stand each other to this day.
Everyone wants children of divorce to hurry up and stop grieving so that we’ll stop making our parents feel guilty. Often, we’re rushed, we’re not supported. We always say things like, “It hurt, but…” or “It was bad at first, but…” and then finish with a happy theme about how much we’ve grown. I used to do the same thing, but, you know what? Nothing good came of it. My parents haven’t magically become reasonable towards each other. I haven’t become more mature as a person–in fact, I think the divorce set me back, just made me better at lying to myself and others, rather than dealing with my feelings. I’m sick of saying that it was fine, it most definitely wasn’t.
Of course there are many legitimate reasons to divorce. In my opinion, though, when you have children, you have to realize that a divorce will truly impact them. Don’t gloss over it like it will be better in the long-run. Divorce isn’t often better for children–it’s usually just better for the adults.
My parents divorced before I was 4. I think the most important thing they did was not fight in front of me (if they even did, I’m sure they did but I never saw it), never acted petty, didn’t talk down the other person, etc. A friend of mine whose parents divorced when we were older (high school age) were very mean to each other and used the kids as weapons in their fighting. It screwed him up.
My horror story and what I hope you learn from it: My parents divorce was awful. They acted like children and fought all the time. They would constantly talk sh** about the other parent, refuse to buy things for me “because your Dad has all the money” or “I don’t pay for child support for nothing.” My Dad remarried and soon it was war between my Step Mom and my Mom. My Dad refused to talk to my Mom and my Step Mom kind of bullied my Mom. I know she found it insulting that another woman was telling her how to parent. Both parents would fill my heads with lies and conspiracy theories: “You’re Mom is making lots of money. She just doesn’t spend it on you because she is selfish and keeps it for herself.” “Check your Dad’s room for spoons (implying he’s a drug addict).” At one point in time, my Mom couldn’t afford her bills and we ended up homeless. My Dad refused to let me stay with him because it was my Mom’s time to watch me. My Step brothers ended up being a terrible influence on my two brothers, introducing them to drugs. One of my brothers straightened himself out when he joined the navy, the other became a heroin addict and is now homeless in California. Last I heard, he has started to use crack as well. Me, I became severely depressed and was very suicidal throughout high school. Luckily, I was blessed with some foresight: I saw my brothers going down a bad path and decided to do the opposite. I saw going to college as a way to escape my controlling step mother and mentally ill mother (bipolar and schizophrenia). Shortly after I left for college, my Step Mother died, one step brother (who introduced my brother to heroin) went to prison, the other to a mental hospital. I graduated, got a job after college and now help my Dad whose health is deteriorating. I now am very close with both my parents and they are now “friends,” in large part because of my brother’s addiction and their need to work together to get him better.
What is to learn from this: Our problems weren’t from divorce. They were from my parents acting like children. You can’t live your life being unhappy just ‘for the kids’ because they will sense your unhappiness. What you need to do is make sure the divorce is as amicable as possible, to not fight in front of the children, to not forbid any one parent from seeing the other, to not talk sh** about the other parent. I was sad when my parents divorced but I was sadder growing up in a war zone. Don’t do that to your kids.
My mother and father would fight constantly as a child. My mother was abusive to me and my brothers. It got to the point where i would be locking my little brother in our bedroom and doing something sh**ty to get in trouble so that she would get mad at me instead of going after him. This sh** got really fu**ing stressful for me. My mother went to visit her family abroad and my dad who had been trying to keep everything together for the sake of us realized how much better it was. Normally my mother would blackmail my father to do things by saying “i will leave you and your kids will grow up without a mother” my mother tried this sh** on the phone well with her relatives, my dad turns to me and asks, “do you think you would be alright if me and your mother got a divorce” i obviously responded in the affirmative, he gets back on the phone and says “you arent being a mother, and i don’t want you as a wife.” that was it. I’m much happier now btw, same with my brothers.
I’m a child of a divorce, and it wasn’t even a happy, well-adjusted divorce, but I am SO GLAD my parents got one. My dad’s communication methods in relationships are… not ok, to say the least, and I’m glad I didn’t grow up seeing that as normal or ok, and also so glad that the fighting in my house stopped. I wish my mother had found someone new to make her happy, but I’m really glad she and my father no longer live in the same home.
My parents tried to make their marriage work until i graduated from high school, and they almost made it. I can tell you, though, that its not worth it. Having my parents living together but not being together was worse than them being separated.
I don’t think divorce itself is what hurts kids.
It’s all the things that come after. Care more about what’s best for your kids than you care about what you want, or one-upping your ex and your kids will be fine.
On the other hand, it’s amazing how badly I’ve seen the divorced parents drama play out. I know one former couple that split during the pregnancy and the mom made sure the dad wasn’t on the birth certificate, then tried to go to court and claim that he wasn’t the father, still wanted child support, but didn’t want him to see the kid.
I’ve seen kids not go on family trips because it was the other parents turn and that parent wanted them to and just sit around at their house.
Seen a kid miss out on a big family Thanksgiving because it was their other parents turn, but that parent didn’t have anything to go to.
Or one parent that made a week long surprise trip to her sister’s house (300 miles away) and wouldn’t answer calls the whole time (missing court appointed hang out time) in order to give the impression that she had moved away and he couldn’t see his kid anymore.
I could go on and on. It’s really amazing how often I’ve seen parents put their desire to punish their ex before what is best for their kids.
The divorce didn’t ruin my life. That was done by my mother shutting my father out of our life and poisoning our minds against him. She controlled us and manipulated us to the point that we were afraid of our father.
When we grew up, it turns out that we never remember him beating us, but she beat us mercilessly. She made it impossible for him to stay close even – she would call the law and have him harassed for trying to see us.
In the long run, my sisters and I shut our mother out for the last 15 years of her life. We were there for my father until the day he died (minus one sister that didn’t make it that long).
There was one point in my life that would have changed it entirely. My father knocked at the door while my mother was away, and talked to us kids. He said he was moving back to New York, and we were all welcome to come with him, and that our mother was mentally ill. If I left, I would have had some semblance of a normal teen life. I wanted to go, but my sisters wouldn’t. I decided that I had to stay just to be sure that they were all right. I still regret that decision, because if I left, then my sisters would have followed. I think.
my parents divorced when i was very young. i had to teach myself how to throw a ball, how boys are supposed to talk to girls, how to defend myself. i remember every failure at those things and i can tell you, even if you ultimately succeed like i did, when it gets to a certain point it stops building character and starts doing serious permanent damage.
i wouldnt say divorce ruins a childs life, but it generally isnt much of a favor. as a product of divorce i have come to the conclusion that starting a family is not a decision you have the right to take back. your own personal happiness is not a valid factor in making life decisions when your decisions have created other lives. your burdens are not theirs to bear.
Just do what you want. You’ll wind up doing it anyway.
How about the other side: how my parents NOT divorcing affected me.
My parents fought A LOT. All the time. It was terrifying for me and my sister.
We used to sit upstairs and cry when they fought. We hated it. We were jealous of all our friends who had divorced parents because they didn’t have to live like that.
They were so miserable that they couldn’t even maintain friendships. I was 16 or 17 before I realized that most adults had friends. I thought it was just a thing kids had that went away when you grew up and got married.
As a college student, I ended up having sex with lots of random men because I was seeking the acceptance and “love” that I never received from my parents.
I am now 32. I’ve never had a healthy or lasting relationship with a man. My sister is 30. She won’t even CONSIDER the idea of dating because she loathes men so much.
Our parents staying together fu**ed us up.
I was 17 when my parents divorced and I could see it coming from miles away. I knew my parents weren’t happy. At first, I blamed my dad because my mom told me he wouldn’t go to marriage counseling to try to work things out. Eventually, once I matured a bit, I realized that there are two sides to every story and I shouldn’t judge based only on one side. I’m glad that they got divorced and I almost wish they would have done it sooner since I could tell they were unhappy for a long time. My brother, however, did not take it well at all (he was 13 when it happened). I think this just had to do with his going through a lot of changes at that age, plus shortly after this happened I went away to college. Anyway, I’m 26 and my brother’s 22 and we’re both happy and well-adjusted. And we are happy as long as our parents are.
The divorce was not the bad part, it was the fact that they were both ass clowns. My brother was older and was able to get out of it by living away from home. I was stuck in between to be the communicator. As long as you guys can keep your anger to yourselves, if there is any, then that’s best. Don’t show your kids your disgust. It only makes them hate you.
My parents had a clean divorce. While they are bitter with each other at times, they are overall cool with each other. I stay at my dad’s house, but I see my mom daily and live with her every other weekend. My grades have not dropped, and I am normal 17 year old emotionally, and I have a bright future ahead of me.
Like JimSFV said, as long as the divorce is civil, the child will be okay. Stay strong.
As a child of 3 divorces (I was ages 3, 9 and then 15), I turned out fine. I love life.
I’ve been married and divorced once. No idea if there’s a correlation there.
Nah, my parents were quite amicable in divorce, and my mum moved just round the corner. Two houses, could go to either of them whenever I wanted, a two minute walk if i fell out with one of them, and tbh, after the actual divorce itself, they were both happy, and my dad spent more time with me when I was staying at his. (not that he hadnt spent any with me beforehand)
They settled everything between themselves, and didnt need to get lawyers to fight over things (including me), which was a huge plus, and agreed that id just spend half the week at one hourse, half at the other.
oh and two christmas dinners for a kid with an iron stomach, bingo!
Just make sure you both stay in their lives. My parents got divorced when I was 11 and my dad just bounced, saw me about 1-2 times a year. It really fu**ed me up, was on anti depressants since then.
I feel that while civility of it certainly plays a factor in a divorce, age plays another factor.
My parents never got married, but they split up when I was 1 or 2, and for the early years of my life I held delusions of them getting back together. But, especially in the early years, my parents would fight, usually over the phone, a lot. It was stressful for me, and usually about money for them. Having them split at such an early age helped me develop a sort of ‘roll with the punches’ attitude about life, and because I have no memories of them being together (just a few pictures) them being separate has not caused me any undo harm. The worst of it is when they unnecessarily slander each other, which does happen, and then it’s just sort of sad for me.
I feel, and I may be mistaken I’m hardly a sociologist, but I feel that divorce is hardest on kids who are old enough to see it going on, but not old enough to understand it. Or kids in their mid teens (late teens, early twenties seem better about it) who are having a hard time adjusting in life anyway. As stated by others though, even in these situations, a civil divorce causes a lot less problems than an unhappy home, full of unspoken anxiety or flat out fighting.
I’d say as long as you explain why it is happening to them and explain what will happen I think your kid(s) will be fine. My parents divorced as well and they sat me down and explained why. Your kids might not even understand at first but, give them some time to think about it and I think they’ll come around to see that it was the best choice. I did. As long as you still love your children and hold them dear, hopefully your ex spouse does the same, then I think you children will grow up happy and healthy. All the best of luck to you!
My mother divorced my dad when I was two. Best thing she ever did. Dad’s bit of a prick, moved on, had a new family, doesn’t have a lot to do with me. Mum is the best parent I could ask for and I’ve never missed out on a father figure as I am very close with my uncle. All in all, if it’s going to make life easier and happier for you, go for it. Your kids will understand eventually.
Ruined my life, nope. BUT with that said it fu**ing sucks, grew up going from one house to the other three or more times a week. For as long as I can remember.
My parents divorced when I was very young, so young, really, that it’s sort of laughable to me that they were ever married to start with. That isn’t to say they didn’t mess me up along the way. Some advice from someone who has been there:
Don’t ever ask your kids to be a go-between with info or intel on him
Don’t over-schedule the kids for holidays to “make it fair”
Don’t disparage him in their presence – even when they’re older
Don’t ever sugarcoat the situation (I can’t stress this one enough. I thought for years my parents would get back together because I never got a good straight answer on it)
Just be there and be open – you’ll come out OK and so will they.
ALSO: I don’t know how old your kids are, but if they’re on the younger side, you should consider the book “Daddy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”. I got it when I was 5 and I still have it in adulthood (though it is very dog-eared now). It does a good job of explaining things and it doesn’t talk down to kids.
To be honest, no, it did not ruin my life. It was hard at first but I came to understand quickly enough. And its not like I never saw my father again. It did impact my brother alot harder though so it can be quite different from child to child. Just be honest and upfront with them (not the whole truth obviously because there are things im sure they just wouldnt understand if they are young)
My parents divorced when I was around 7–I think it was a good thing for the family. Having my parents no longer fighting and having their own happy lives was much better than living in a tense house with everyone unhappy. More important than anything is being civil in front of your kids. No matter what–don’t say anything negative about them in front of the kids, don’t argue, just say “we’re going to go talk” and leave the room and discuss whatever it is completely out of earshot.
My parents divorced when I was in maybe 3rd grade. They had been having loud arguments near nightly beforehand and their relationship had clearly deteriorated.
When they separated my dad stayed local (for a few years he was 30 min away, now he’s 10 min away from my mum’s place. They’re doing their own things but keep in close contact due to having 3 kids together). I got 2 Christmases and both were nicer to me due to trying to win me over after the separation. Plus no more loud arguments at night. I saw it as a win-win situation for me.
My mother had an unstable childhood due to her parents divorce and her mom passing away so she was determined not to divorce ever. When we were old enough to see how horribly unhappy she was we convinced her to divorce our father. Also he was a piece of sh**.
As long as you explain to your kids why you two are splitting up and show them why it’ll be better, I think they’ll be fine. Not to mention, I think it’d be a much easier thing to deal with having a brother or sister.
In my case, my parents divorced when I was about 5 or 6 and I’m an only child. They had a pretty messy divorce, mostly because they fought all the time. As a kid, nothing was really explained to me much and I didn’t really understand what was going on. It was scary and honestly a bit traumatizing for me.
I’m 18 as of now and looking back I think the divorce really helped their relationship with each other. Growing up in that sort of environment I developed separate relationships with my parents. My father was always a very level-headed and calm guy and with the divorce I got to know him better because he cherished all the days and weekends I got to spend with him. My mother, on the other hand, was very bitter and spiteful when I was a kid. She took out a lot of her anger on me and that really strained our relationship. Even today I still don’t trust her because of her past actions.
I seriously don’t think it will ruin your children’s lives. They’ll adapt after a while and it’ll soon become the norm. I’m sure it’d be much easier to deal with having a sibling also it’d be much easier with sane and level-headed parents.
Sorry for the really long post, but I hope you can take something from my personal experience.
The fact that my parents got a divorce didn’t bother me at all. I was like k…cool. I was 13 and my brother and sister were 10 and 7 respectively. None of us were really that effected. It was the fact that my mother insisted on dragging us all into it, and giving us every detail of my dads numerous affairs. She went on and on for months about him and how disgusting he was and how pathetic and selfish and blah blah blah.
Yeah it may have been true but kids don’t want to hear that about the other parent.
And my dad was no better.
My Parents divorce was the best possible thing for my relationship with my Dad (and did no harm to my great relationship with my Mom). As long as it’s done civilly, and you keep your children from knowing too much (or too little) you should be fine.
My parents had a toxic, venomous relationship. Their divorce, although rocky and still causing problems for my brothers and me, was an overall beneficial action.
We no longer have to deal with daily scream-fests, among other things, when we go home.
If the current situation (eg, mainly fighting with the spouse, which has scarred my siblings and me) is hazardous to your kids, then I would say that a divorce would help. Kudos to you for asking how others were affected before potentially subjecting your children to the divorce process. (: Best of luck with you decision!
My parents were assholes when they were together, assholes when they were apart. Just be a good parent.
Also, if you stay in a loveless, unhappy marriage, remember that’s going to be the biggest influence on your child, on what their ideas of relationships are. They see that specific relationship at a very close, personal level, so they grow up believing that those traits are normal.
The divorce didn’t bother me at all. My dad was really strict and unreasonable. My parents slept in different bedrooms for as long as I can remember. I lived with my mom solely after the divorce and never saw my dad again. Dead weight, gone. So I would say that if the family is better off divorced, you shouldn’t worry about the impact on the kids.
My parents didn’t divorce when the should have. Going along with what others have said, its how you go about doing it. But from a home where the parents chose to stay together for the kids thinking it was best for them- it wasn’t.
A happily separated home is far better then an unhappily together home 🙂
Glad my parent split. I enjoy seeing my mom happy and my dad happy, but they aren’t happy together so why would I want them in a relationship?
From a stepdad point of view: keep both parents involved and the kids will be better. Kids are better when their parents are happy and fulfilled.
My parents got divorced when I was 18/turned 19. It affected me. But being older it hasn’t hindered me in any way. It depends on how old your children are, and as previously said how civic everything is. I think your children wouldn’t be bad off if you and your husband were nice to each other while around your children
My parents divorced at around 8 or 9 or maybe 10 or so (32 now)…to be honest, it affected me none, well I’m sure some, but nothing negative came from it, although I assure you had they stayed together in the ever increasing unhappy argument filled life we had prior to the divorce, things may have been worse.
My parents get along great now, they still talk on occasion, both are remarried, all is well. The seriousness of it all is this, if you’re not happy, that will affect your kids lives, same goes for the father. So if separation via divorce is necessary to better your lives, it’ll do the same for your kids.
It didn’t ruin my life, but it certainly didn’t make it better either. My parents would argue, but nothing violent or even that dramatic, so when they got a divorce it meant less yelling/arguing around the house.
It makes things a bit more complicated logistically, but it wasn’t all that negative, if anything my parents were happier which in turn made me happier.
It won’t ruin your childrens lives as long as you do things properly. As the top commentor mentioned, as long as your civil and mature about it, things should be fine.
i wasn’t married, but i was with the man for 7 years and he fathered 3 of my children. i left him almost 4 years ago and my kids are happier and healthier then they ever were with him. i guess it depends on your situation and what is going on. but or me this was the best decision of my life
Not one bit. She met my step dad 10 years ago (when I was 7) and I love him so much and I’m so happy that my mom was able to find a fit father for me and a good husband for her.
Please do not move to a different city when you split up.
My dad unintentionally killed my social life for a majority of my high school career by moving two hours away from my mom, and getting weekend visitation rights. Every weekend from about 5th grade – 11th grade, I had to get in the car and spend the weekend in a neighborhood full of childless adults. It was like pure distilled boredom. After the first few months, friends just stopped calling me to see if I wanted to do anything. I can’t blame them. How long would it take you to stop inviting a friend over if every single time you just got his Mom on the phone telling you he wasn’t there?
I’d never tell my dad, but that’s the only thing I really resent him for.
My parents split when I was 6.
The fact my parents split hurt my feelings, but not nearly as much as the banter back and forth. “your idiot father does this…” “your mother’s an alcoholic whore” “you must see how terrible the other parent is to you”
I suggest saying positive things to your children. Focus on the children and how they feel and what makes them happy, rather than the divorce and how you feel about the ex.
Definitely get the divorce if you are at wits end. If you string it along when it won’t work out, it will be harder on the kids
If my parents had done that for me, I would have been a happier child than what I was.
My parents divorced when I was young. It was not the divorce itself that was bad, but the way my parents behaved afterward (mostly bad mouthing and my father trying to turn my brother and I against our mother.)
I say this as a child of divorce starting at age 7… TWO CHRISTMAS’!
But seriously the only thing that was a bit fu**ed up was lying about the other parent/leveraging us kids to get what they wanted in the divorce.
Parents divorced when I was about 5. Fairly ugly divorce, although I remember little of that time. Mom eventually moves a country and 14 hour drive away. Dad doesn’t manage to do much on time for various reasons often related to running a small struggling business. The problem really was talking about each other, in negative ways, to me and Sis. After all I’m half Dad, if Mom hates Dad, she hates half me. It’s much more complicated than that but it’s easiest to sum up that way.
My Sister was my divorced mother’s confidant. At 12 my Sister had my bitter mother download all her hate into Sis’s head. She hasn’t had a date in 10years. She’s 43. It’s not the only reason, but her depression and other symptoms reverberate through the years.
I got my fair share of troubles from the bitterness and the mean spirited crap too. Dad was more into being a manager of an employee (me) in the business. This allowed him time to sit and relax and tell the world how smart he was.
It’s not just fighting, its everything. Bickering, backbiting, yelling etc. Even if your (maybe) ex and you divorce, you have to stay on the high road, even if he can’t. If you can’t be be polite, kind and generally nice, then it doesn’t matter what your relationship and cohabiting situation is with their Father.
But if you can’t be happy in the relationship, then there’s no real way to be happy at home for your children.
Good luck this must be a very tough moment in life.
Wall of text incoming.
Take it from a divorce child, it’s better you divorce now than raise kids in a broken home. I don’t know what I’d be like if my parents stayed together “for the kids.” It seemed all they did was argue.
Don’t get me wrong, it will be rough on your kids. My parents divorced 10 years ago, I was horribly sad when they split up, it was strange not having my dad around, and only seeing him on weekends (although in a way I think it strengthened my relationship with him), and I didn’t know how to react when my mum started to look for a new relationship, my instinct was to dislike her boyfriends (she’s been with the same guy happily for about 8 years now, he’ll never be my father, I never got on with him amazingly, but I’m glad my mum’s happy.)
Protip: if you do divorce, don’t act like enemies, or bitter about the marriage. Despite not being together, you still have to be good parents to your children, and having to pick sides is not a good experience for them. My parents constantly whine about each other, and I still hate having to hear it.
Sorry if any of that seemed really obvious, I just covered what stuck out from my own experiences as a child of divorce
Staying with someone you hate just to keep your kids happy is the worst thing you can do to a kid’s mind.
My parents divorced when I was 2 and I can’t even imagine how incredibly difficult my life would have been if they had stayed together. I’m the only child that they had together, so I can only give my experience, but here it is. They are two VERY different people, and it would have been nearly impossible for them to have created a stable, loving home environment. My parents both remarried, and my stepfather was very interested in being involved in my life. I lived with my mom and step-dad in MN while my dad and step-mom lived in VA. Even with the distance between us, I tell people all the time that I feel like I was able to grow up with 2 dads. My biological dad made a point to call me at least 4 or 5 times a week just to stay in touch, and over the summer I would stay with him for at least a month and a half, often more. I also visited during Thanksgiving (though not always), and at Christmas. I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though my parents divorced, I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if they had stayed together. It would almost certainly be much worse, and I know for a fact that I would have a hell of a lot more baggage because their personalities simply don’t go together. My step-dad is fantastic, and I love him like he is my real dad, but that in no way means that I don’t love my biological dad the same way. They’ve both been there for me throughout all my life, and they’re both very important to me. I’m no expert on divorce, but I can say with certainty that my parents’ divorce was undoubtedly a good thing for me.
My parents got divorced when I was about 6. It was rough having to move in with my mom and not be able to see my dad everyday. But compared to all the nights they spent screaming at each other, it was heaven. If you guys don’t get along, and staying together would put stress on the whole family, then get divorced. It’s better then seeing/hearing your parents fight. Hope this helps and good luck with whatever decision you make
My parents got divorced when I was 4. It didn’t ruin my life. I’m happily married now with four children.
I’m very surprised by all the pro-divorce replies. I’ll agree that divorce is the right option if you can’t fix your problems, but otherwise no it’s not necessarily best. I don’t know what your situation with your husband is but I’d like to suggest that you try and work it out (unless it’s something extreme like he beats you or is a habitual cheater or something). My parents getting divorced has caused me numerous problems in my life (I’ve found out in recent years what caused it and it would have probably been worse if they’d stayed together but that’s besides the point), without a lot of elaboration it really hurt my relationship with my father and there was a lot of unplesantness because of it while growing up.
Children can tell if you’re upset. No matter how well you try to hide it, they will realize it. If a divorce will make you happier, the kids might not like it at first. But if you calmly explain that it is not their fault and that they will still be loved, no matter what, they will be okay. Although my sister and I went through our own bits of difficulty after my parents divorced, we are all much more happier than we were when they were together and stressed all the time. Our parents considered us and wanted us to be happy, and always showed that they still loved us. I thank goodness everyday for the fact that their split wasn’t as scarring as it could have been. But I would not be the type of person that I am today if they hadn’t. Time heals most wounds.
I honestly believe that if a mother and father can’t be a happy and content around each other and their children as a family then yes you should get divorced. My parents could not stand each other my entire childhood but would never get divorced due to cultural taboo (we’re Indian). Their relationship has traumatized me in that I no longer feel capable of having a long and loving relationship with anyone. Had I not been forced to deal with my parent’s dysfunctional relationship my entire childhood this would not have been the case.
Best thing that ever happened.
My parents separation/divorce began when I was about 16. At first I had taken it alright, because I knew it was coming. But once I started hearing how my parents really felt about eachother… that’s when things started going downhill. The whole situation was stressing and ugly. Even though I was old enough to understand what was going on, I couldn’t deal with the thought that the two people that raised me since I was born couldn’t stand eachother.
My parents hate each other and have a bitter resentment for one another. They ruined my life by staying together trying to keep us a “family.”
Everyone’s life got significantly better after my parents got divorced. If life is bullsh** and full of pain now, a divorce has a large potential to make things better in the long term.
My parents had a nice civil divorce when i was around 8 or 9. My dad is meh the average dad, but my step dad is fu**in awesome and has helped me out with practical sh** much more than my dad ever could.
My parents got divorced when I was 5 (give or take a year, I don’t know the exact age) and I have practically no memories of them ever being together. That said, I have some vague recollections of being kind of confused about having to go and visit my dad and back again, but I got used to it pretty quickly. Them not being married anymore didn’t fu** me up in the long run. The important thing is that there was never any doubt that either of them loved me and my sister. We got to spend equal amounts of time with both parents during the week and they were always very polite to one another when they traded off. They also never talked any sh** about each other while we were with them and if they were having any kind of emotional problems as a result of the divorce, they never showed it in front of us. I think they felt that the burden of the divorce should be on their shoulders and they weren’t about to let it ruin our childhoods.
I think what really made it work was that they were able to put their emotions aside and recognize one another’s value as parents, even if they no longer valued one another as spouses. So I guess the main message here is that, in my experience, if you continue to stay level-headed and be kind to each other and don’t let the situation affect how you treat and feel about your kids, they will be fine. I also don’t know how old your own children are or anything about your relationship with their father so it might be different, but this is how it worked out for me and my sister.
It’s not getting divorced that’s the problem – it’s 100% how the parents deal with said divorce.
My father divorced my mother, kicked her out onto the street, and then started spending weekends at a time with his girlfriend. Children need guidance and discipline, and parents need to put their personal lives on the back burner until their kids are old enough to understand the complexities of relationships.
its a double edge sword cause as a kid i cried nightly hearing my mom and dad argue and was a little happy that they apart and aren’t yelling any more but there are times i wished i could go back and change things so my family never broke
My parents went through a rough divorce, and I was the one my mom bitched to about everything when I was 12. Screwed me up for a while but got back on track.
I turned out fine
My dads a douche though
My parents divorce, dramatically improved the quality of my life. One of the happiest moments in my life, it was a relief for it to finally happen.
My parents divorced when I was ten. Not the best thing to ever happen to me, but it’s up there.
My parents have been divorced for ten years now and I still live at home. Mom has full custody and I would much rather they were divorced than still fighting/abusing/lying. The fights when they were together affected me more than the divorce ever did or has.
No. The divorce did not ruin my life. Nor did it ruin my brother’s life, who watched it happen twice. Sure, I was grumpy for a while, but I survived and I know that everybody was happier in the end.
One of my best friends parent’s divorced, and he has never been happier. Their parents are friends now, while mine on the other hand have hated each other for the last ten years. They spend my battle with drug addiction just blaming each other for it until i overdosed. It took something like that to get them to… well shut the fu** up.
Please don’t do that to your child, treat your former spouse with respect, as they are still your childrens parent too.
My parents divorce ruined my life, I gained weight, my grades drop, I became severely depressed and was up until sophomore year in high school when I finally talked to someone about it. My parents divorced when I was in 6th grade.
Don’t know if this helps. My parents have not loved nor shown affection for each other in 15 years. They claim they stay together for me and my younger sister. She is now completely cold and emotionless because of the environment.
My husbands parents have stayed together for 32 years even though they are very obviously unhappy together. Every time we leave a family get together, he ends up saying how sad he is that they didn’t just get a divorce when they both could have pursued other relationships. Don’t think staying together because of the kids is going to help them. They can tell when you’re unhappy and it just makes them unhappy.
Would you ruin your children by staying with him? I think that’s the more important question.
Everyone here is talking about their parents getting divorced from a sh**ty marriage. I had a reasonably good marriage and my divorce was amicable, so what I will tell you is from that perspective.
Parenting by yourself is very hard, not to mention lonely. There’s a lot to be said for having someone who has your back, someone you can talk to about the kids. Kids (from what I can see) react to parents more positively when they are together. I’m a good Dad but I’m a much better parent with a partner. I’m too tired to describe why, but I’ve seen the same thing in other divorces.
I don’t know what else to say, except that with divorce, everyone suffers. The sense of family is really damaged after divorce. It’s up to you to decide whether divorce is the better option for everyone… I don’t know your situation, but if you get along OK and you’re both reasonable people, then you should spare no effort or expense in trying to salvage things.
My parents divorced when I was 11. It was definitely a hard time, but I was okay with it because I had seen them fighting, and I could tell what was coming up, so I was okay because I had plenty of warning for it.
My mother divorced her second husband when I was ~18 and it was a very tumultuous divorce. I had to stay with my grandparents for over a month and missed tons of school. I pulled through it, but the financial drain on my mother is still evident.
Long story short, it’s not so much whether you divorce, but how you do it. Always try to make things amiable.
Not so much the divorce, but my dad and brother moving and never being around and my mom marrying some asshole that liked to smack me around.
If you get a divorce don’t split up the family and don’t start dating like you don’t have kids anymore.
I think that my parents staying together would have ruined my life.
My parents recently divorced in a pretty civil matter, still talk, do business together, etc. However, the scheming I hear from them about each other though is what drives me crazy.
Mom – “Oh, you know he raised you for the last 11 years (she divorced my step-father actually), its not like because of the divorce he has to be out of your life. He cares for you and us, we just aren’t compatible.”
Days later…”What!? You met him for lunch!? Are you kidding me, after all that fu**er did!? You’re supposed to be on my side! You went behind my back, etc”
Days later…”You know, its not like there are sides or anything, I don’t want sides…but did he try to tell you it was all my fault? Because I know that’s something he’d do. What did he tell you? What did you talk about? Wha Wha Wha…”
Divorcing parents are just as selfish, hypocritical, immature, irrational, life-ruining and our teenage breakups. Avoid them like the plague… call them out on the damage they are inflicting.
My therapist says I have serious emotional issues and this is 10 years later. It wasn’t amicable. Please really think about it. Conflict hurts kids.
My parents’ seperated when I was 3. I can say that the only thing that really screwed me over was their interaction with eachother and the presence he had in my life. My mother and brothers had to teach me most things which traditionally a father would, consequentially I never used a power tool until I was 19 and learnt how to shave by watching films and tv, which is also how I learnt about relationships. You wont ruin your children but there needs to be a strong father figure in their life to teach them these things, my eldest brother was screwed up a lot because my mother acted as his mother and his father for him
My parents split when I was about 11 and it made me terribly sad at the time. I’d have to say that they both made extra effort to make sure that I knew it wasn’t my fault while I was growing up and overall I think I turned out ok. No more issues than anyone else and been married myself for almost 30 years. Divorce is never pleasant but if you are both good parents everything will be fine.
My parents waited until I was 21 to divorce. When I was 8 I knew things were fu**ed up. They would always bitch about eachother and try to turn me against one another. I think it is better to get divorced when you want to instead of trying to “stay together for the kids”. It’s hard to hide whatever anger you feel towards your husband. The kids will pick up on it. This is what will hurt them.
I’m a child of divorcees,and the way they handled their relationship break up ruined my life, not the divorce.
Unless you’re having some weird petty argument after a short period of marriage ‘Kardashian style’ get divorced.
My parents’ ‘doing it for the kids’ decision was so transparent and tragic to witness I spiralled into severe depression, hid in my room, stopped going to school almost completely (13% Final attendance), and am only just recovering now 6 years later (I’m 22). They really thought I’d be stupid enough not to realise they hated each other, & tried to play happy families. Meal times were torture. I still haven’t forgiven my Mum, & my Dad wasn’t blameless either.
Things were a little tough afterwards, but I turned out great. My mom is my hero for being such a strong woman. She sacrificed a lot for my sister and I, and I love her for that. While it may be hard for the kids for a little while, your happiness will mean more to them in the long run. I hope this helps.
I was 5 when my parents divorced and even then I knew it was for the best. They were not in love. They were not happy. Watching my mom have the strength to admit defeat and leave my father impacted my little brain immensely- I learned then that standing up for yourself, your happiness and your life is okay. I’m still proud of my mom for the decision to leave my dad and give us the happy childhood (with both parents) that was not possible had they stayed together in an unhappy marriage.
My parents divorced when I was two. Growing up with two separate families was normal for me. The thing that screwed with me was how my parents, my mom specifically, handled it. She convinced my brother and I that our dad hated us, which I believed until I was forced to move in with him at 16, and realized that he was actually a pretty awesome guy. My mom still talks bad about him, and it’s infuriating.
So, like others said, it’s not if you divorce, it’s how. Staying in an unhealthy and stressful marriage is probably worse on your kids than a mature, respectful divorce.
Coming from a child who’s parents divorced when I was 3, there are some things I think are really important.
Don’t badmouth their other parent in front of them. That stuff sticks with them. If they complain to you about their other parent, don’t take sides.
Don’t ever kick them out of the house telling them to go live with their other parent. It’s just as bad as being kicked out from their only home, it happened to my brother.
If you end up with another person you’d like to marry, make sure your kids know your intentions and like the person before you do it.
Please give the kids some influence when it comes to their living situation, it really hurt when I wasn’t allowed to see one of my parents as often as I wanted to.
Try and stay as involved in their lives as you can, even if it’s hard.
Make sure your kids know they can always switch homes if they feel something is wrong where they currently are.
While you’re still in the process of divorce, don’t fight where they can hear. They know what’s going on.
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