Contrary to popular belief, divorce isn't always negative for kids -- sometimes it's excellent for kids. Here are five ways that your children can benefit from your divorce:
1. When Mommy and Daddy are happier as individuals, their kids will be too. When there's ugliness between the couple, no one's happy. Once the halves of the couple move on and find their grounding, each one as an individual has the opportunity to be happier than ever. When children have a happy mom and dad, they'll do much better.
2. When the tension dissolves out of the house, kids will be more relaxed. Children are like barometers. You can measure the level of tension in the air by their behavior. Once the split happens and the nasty intensity in the environment fades, watch how the children’s behavior follows.
3. When you model that you deserve to be in a satisfying and supportive relationship, you model something wonderful to your kids. If you stay in a bad relationship "for the kids," don't fool yourself that the kids will really benefit. Although there will be certainly be an adjustment when you divorce, the end result is positive. You’re showing your children not to settle for an unhealthy marriage.
4. With shared custody, kids have the opportunity to experience each parent as a full and competent parent. Usually when both parents are together, one of them takes on most of the nurturing and/or logistical planning. After a divorce, the children can have each parent completely focusing on them with the time they have together. They can also see each parent fully taking care of home business.
5. There's the potential for your kids to either witness you being happy on your own or finding a better partner, both of which are a good thing. Whether or not you decide to pair up with another mate, your kids can benefit by watching your joyful independence or new positive relationship. Either way, your children will benefit.
So, if you were thinking this article would be about the horrors your children will experience if you divorce, at this point you're either hugely disappointed or greatly relieved. What's most important to remember is your newfound single life after divorce is what you make it -- and your children's attitude and well-being will follow suit.
Click through the slideshow below for 5 divorce books for kids:
Dinosaurs Divorce by Marc Brown and Laurie Krasny Brown (Brown Books for Young Readers, $7.99) Suitable For Ages 4-8 “One of the nice features of this book is that it emphasizes that it’s not the child’s fault and that there are a lot of different situations so children can feel that they are not alone and unique in what they are going through.” -Beth Puffer, director of Bank Street Books in New York City
Let’s Talk About It: Divorce by Fred Rogers, with illustrations and photographs by Jim Judkis (Penguin Group, $6.99) Suitable for Ages 4-8 “I’m a big fan of Mr. Rogers. He was somebody that really seemed to understand how kids think and there is something to me that seems really comforting in his version. He carries the mantra ‘you are ok just the way you are’ and that would be especially helpful in a time where kids could obviously think really bad things about themselves.” –Trish Brown, co-owner of Hooray for Books! in Alexandria, Virginia
A Smart Girl's Guide to Her Parents' Divorce: How to Land on Your Feet When Your World Turns Upside Down by Nancy Holyoke, with illustrations by Scott Nash (American Girl Publishing, $9.95) Suitable for Ages 9-12 “American Girl is one of the best publishers at handling “issue books” for girls of all different ages. This one is very good. It has activities, questionnaires, and counseling on every topic and handles it in an approachable, hip, cool way.” –Luke Robertson, book seller at Children’s Book World in Los Angeles
Two Homes by Claire Masurel, with illustrations by Kady MacDonald Denton (Candlewick Press, $6.99) Suitable for Ages 3-6 “It’s very low key and very gentle and just talks about the good things about each home. Sort of not pitting them against each other, instead saying ‘in this one I have one thing and in this one I have another thing but both are good.’” -Terri Schmitz, owner of The Children’s Book Shop in Brookline, Massachusetts
The Family Book by Todd Parr (Brown Books for Young Readers, $6.99) Suitable for Ages 4-6 “It’s not particularly about divorce, but it points out that everyone and every family is different in their own way and it’s fine, it’s the way things are, and its all ok. This one is good for young kids, and takes a lot of different angles” – Ann Seaton, manager of Hicklebee's Children's Book Store in San Jose, California