Does divorce always have a negative impact on the kids?

Esther - posted on 06/06/2011 ( 22 moms have responded )

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My friend and her husband recently got a divorce. To say it's an amicable divorce would be the understatement of the century. They just decided that they viewed eachother more like best friends and not so much as husband/wife and that they wanted more out of a marriage. So they split up, still the best of friends. They decided to sell their home and rented two apartments right next to eachother so they could still both spend as much time as they want with their 3 year old son. The split was so amicable that my friend encouraged her best friend to move in with her (now) ex-husband because she knew that the friend would be a perfect match for her ex. Those two are now romantically involved as was my friend's intention. She figures it may as well be her best friend because this way at least her son will have a stepmother that she likes too and likes spending time with. They also kept their home upstate and all of them go there on weekends/holidays and spend time together. This has all happened in the last 3 months or so. I asked my friend today how her son is handling it all and if has been in any way impacted by their divorce. She doesn't think so but she said that she thinks he'll probably start feeling it later in life. I told her I'm not so sure. It seems to me that kids need to know that their parents love them and are there for them and as long as that's the case, I'm not sure it really matters to them whether or not they are living under one roof (I guess technically my friends ARE still living under one roof). What do you think? Will there be any negative impact on this boy under these circumstances?

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Lissa - posted on 06/06/2011

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My parents divorced when I was 13, I cannot tell you how relieved I was, I actually said "Finally why did you not do this years ago". Apparently they worried about the negative impact on us, the reality was living with them both was negative. I wasn't upset for a single moment and now as adult I just feel sad that they both wasted so many years of their lives together.

Krista - posted on 06/06/2011

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@Teresa: Oh, I agree that it would definitely have a negative impact at the time. For sure. That's a given.



I guess I'm looking more at long-term negative impact. And if there's been any long-term negative impact on my brother, then I would say it's pretty minimal.



A lot of it also depends on the kid, though.



My folks split up when I was 8. I took it well, and bonded quickly with my new stepdad. Looking back, I'm actually very glad they split. They weren't a good couple, and seeing my mom with my stepdad has showed me what a good marriage DOES look like. Plus, I now have two stepsisters and my aforementioned half-brother, as well as my ex-stepmom -- all people who are in my life and who I care for deeply, who would not have otherwise been in my life.



My sister took it very differently. She was 13, which is a tough age anyway. And she still holds on to a lot of resentment about the divorce and the reasons for it, and has a lot of trust issues with men. Part of me wants to tell her to get the hell over it, already -- it's been 28 freaking years, and in my opinion, you can only blame your behaviour on your upbringing for so long.



So I do kind of see Teresa's point. In the category of "least likely to screw up your kid", happy marriage would definitely outrank friendly divorce. But I think that friendly divorce would definitely outrank acrimonious marriage, and even platonic marriage.

[deleted account]

"Don't you wish everyone could be that mature and put their children's needs above their own selfish impulses?"

I ALWAYS thought i would be mature enough to put my feelings aside if i ever went through a divorce and put my kids first.
I can tell you now for me it was a lot easier said then done.
3 months ago my Husband walked out. 1st thing i did was try and think of the kids but i'm not going to lie my emotions got the better of me. It didn't make it easier when he decided to move in with a girl and her 2 kids after only 5 weeks of leaving. I tried to talk to him but he just wouldn't listen he thought and still thinks that what he is doing and has done was right.
I had a moment about a month ago now where i went you know what this is bullshit these kids are suffering and i'm not doing it anymore. Him and i need to put them first and for the past month thats exactly what i have been doing. My emotions about the seperation are now not being brought into anything to do with him or the kids. Those 3 months on the kids were tough and i'm sure will have a long term negative effect on them and i will feel guilty for a very long time for the damage i may or may not have done to them.

If my seperation had been ammicable then i probably would have been able to keep my emotions in check but more often then not divorce/seperation is one sided where one walks out while the other tries to stay and fight for it.

Krista - posted on 06/06/2011

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I highly doubt there will be any negative impact. I think it's fantastic that your friends are being so mature and amicable, and keeping their son's needs first.

My dad and stepmother had a similar situation. They had a son together, who was born mostly deaf (due to her contracting rubella in her first trimester -- she thought she was up to date on her vaccines, but she wasn't). Anyway, when my half-brother was around 9, they split up. It was amicable, and my brother lived full-time with my dad.

Fast forward a couple of years, and my dad was having a bit of a hard time handling my brother, who had developed severe OCD in addition to his hearing impairment, making him a rather challenging kid. My ex-stepmom was living on her own but having a hard time making ends meet.

So...they moved in together as roommates. It worked out perfectly -- my brother had both parents around, my dad didn't have so much on his shoulders, and my ex stepmom was able to see her son every day and only paid a pittance in rent. They had this arrangement, even dating other people, for a good 8 years.

It's had no negative impact on my brother at all. In fact, he's shown a similar maturity in his own love life, having stayed friendly with any girl he's dated. He's doing extremely well in university (4.0 gpa!), and is just an all-around great guy with a bright future.

So no, divorce does not automatically = fucked-up kids. It's how things are HANDLED that makes the biggest difference.

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Stifler's - posted on 06/07/2011

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What if one wants to go away for holidays and not take the others at a time the other one desperately wants the kid at home? You can't always eliminate any possible negative impact but this kid will definitely be better off than others.

Stifler's - posted on 06/06/2011

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Of course there will be negative impact on the kid, his parents are divorced it just might be a hell of a lot less than people who hate each other and custody battles and lviing in different coutnries /states . But at least they are getting along and trying their hardest to make it easier on him.

Dana - posted on 06/06/2011

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Yes, don't beat yourself up Shannen! It's kind of hard to be mature about it if the other spouse is being a complete ass!

Jayce - posted on 06/06/2011

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I know a few people who could learn a thing or two from your friend, Esther.

Jayce - posted on 06/06/2011

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I know a few people who could learn a thing or two from your friend, Esther.

Lacye - posted on 06/06/2011

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As long as they are getting along with each other and are still friends, I don't think it will. I thinks it's pretty awesome that they still get along after the divorce.

Sara - posted on 06/06/2011

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On a side note, I once asked my husband, jokingly, if we could still be friends after the divorce, and he said "Depends, can you learn to breathe underwater". Smartass.

Charlie - posted on 06/06/2011

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My parents divorced , best thing that ever happened because they were not compatible as a couple , they remained close friends until my father passed away .

Sara - posted on 06/06/2011

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Don't you wish everyone could be that mature and put their children's needs above their own selfish impulses?

I think it sounds like your friends have done it as well as they possibly can. I think what's more important than whether a child's parents are married is if their parents treat each other with respect and put the child first. Any split that doesn't do that is going to have an impact on the kid in a negative way. And I also think the older the child is, the larger the impact too.

Tinker1987 - posted on 06/06/2011

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i think what his parents are doing is wonderful. i dont see there being a big negative impact on him, but it depends,if his parents re-marry and have other kids.maybe but you never know.he may grow up to be postive of it all

Dana - posted on 06/06/2011

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In this case the chances of there being a negative impact would be small. I'm not even sure if there would be one but, not being an expert, I can't rule it out either. If you were going to get a divorce this is the route to take. Of course not all parties are going to be as cool as these 3 individuals...



For every other kind of divorce, yes, I do believe there's a negative impact.

OhJessie - posted on 06/06/2011

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What kids really hate is losing a parent, and this child hasn't. If there has to be a divorce with a child, this is the way to do it. If all divorces could work this way children would be better off. If your friend manages to keep the whole thing on such an amicable level, there's probably no reason to think it's going to hurt the boy more than the things that happen in every person's life. :)

[deleted account]

I don't believe that any divorce regardless of how fabulous will have zero negative impact on a child. Sorry, I just don't/won't believe that. However, NOT getting a divorce in many situations would have a greater negative impact on them.

Sorry Krista, my response has nothing to do w/ your comment about your brother. I didn't read it before I typed that out. ;)

Becky - posted on 06/06/2011

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I think in a situation like their's, it's unlikely that it will have a negative impact on the child. Unfortunately, their situation is very rare! Even when divorces are relatively amicable, it can sometimes be very hard for parents to put everything aside and really work together and be on the same page in regards to their children. And that's where the harm to the children happens.

Lady Heather - posted on 06/06/2011

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Nope, that's the way to do it! I think so long as they continue to be open and honest with their son about the situation as he gets older, he'll be just fine I'm sure.

JuLeah - posted on 06/06/2011

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Well, I think it would have been better for them to hide their real feelings, deny their truth, live a lie, grow to resent and maybe hate one another. I think they ought to have modeled dishonestly for the boy. Stayed together so he might one day get to see fighting and hear screaming matches at 3am .....

Are you kidding? These folks are perfect!

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